Carrot Picnic Salad + Garlic Vinaigrette


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Carrot Picnic Salad + Garlic Vinaigrette

Carrot Picnic Salad + Garlic Vinaigrette

In the bottom of a bowl, sized for how much you want to make, mix the following ingredients to make Garlic Vinaigrette.

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 minced garlic clove

1/4 cup olive oil

Grate carrots into the dressing and toss as you go.  Add until they are saturated by the dressing to your liking.

Inspired by “Picnic!  Recipes and Menus for Outdoor Enjoyment”

Halloween-themed birthday party at Toro Canyon Park. Carpinteria, California.

Pumpkin Bread + Cream Cheese Frosting


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Pumpkin Bread + Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Bread + Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup white flour

1 cup wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup cooked pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Frosting ingredients:  one package of cream cheese, a bag of powdered sugar, small box of milk or cream, splash of vanilla

Pumpkin Bread

Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl beat oil, sugar, & eggs.  Blend in vanilla and pumpkin puree.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only enough to just blend it.  The batter will be very wet.

Pour into a greased, square cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until the top of the loaf springs back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Let cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before slicing and removing from the pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I do this frosting by “feel.”  Put a package of cream cheese into a mixer and get it started, allowing the cream cheese to soften and become smooth.  Shake a cup or so of powdered sugar into the mixing bowl and a generous splash of milk or cream.  Drop about a teaspoon of vanilla into the mixture and let it blend.  After a few minutes, check the flavor and consistency of the frosting.  Add powdered sugar if it is too runny, milk or cream if it is too stiff, and vanilla to your liking.

I sliced each pumpkin bread piece so I could “sandwich” them.  I wanted them to be easier to handle at a bake sale, but the frosting can easily be spread on top, like a cake, if you prefer.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. The Cream Cheese Frosting is the standard frosting that  I put in on most birthday cakes.

Old California Kitchen at Olivas Adobe

Turkey Meatball Soup


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Turkey Meatball Soup

Turkey Meatball Soup

Cut the crusts off 2 thick slices of day-old bread.  Cut the slices into cubes until you have about one cup.  Put them in a bowl and cover them with room temperature water.

In a separate large mixing bowl, put 1 pound ground turkey, 1 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon red wine, ground pepper, 1 egg, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Drain the bread and squeeze the water out of the cubes.  Crumble it into the bowl with all of the other ingredients.  With open fingers, gently mix all of the ingredients together until they are well combined.  Roll into meatballs and drop into 3 cups of chicken stock.  Let meatballs boil until they are cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.  Salt or season the soup, as desired.

Adapted from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food II.”

Fall Saddle Club Riding Lesson at a California Ranch

Cheesecake Lunchbox Bars


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Cheesecake Lunchbox Bars

Bars, bars, bars, gimme bars. We eat constantly around here.  Between Charlotte’s growth spurts and my fast metabolism, we are perpetually searching for snacks.   Often on the grocery store “protein bar” train, we are ready to find time to make baked snacks at home for after school snacks, school lunches, as road trip food, & whenever the “gimme a bar” words are muttered.

Cheesecake Lunchbox Bars

Mix the following ingredients in a food processor (or a large bowl and use your hands) until it makes a fine crumble.

3/4 cup white flour

3/4 cup wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup almonds

1 stick butter

Reserve a cupful for the topping later.  Press the remainder into a square greased pan.

Next, put into food processor (or mixer) the following ingredients and blend until smooth.

16 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread over hot crust and bake another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread jam over the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the reserved crust as a top layer.

If you plan to eat the batch within a couple of days, you may add a layer of fresh fruit (berries, sliced peaches) coated in flour between the jam layer and the top crust layer.

These bars can be frozen individually in foil and used in school lunches. I took them from the freezer the night before and they defrosted by lunch the next day. Alternatively, we ate them straight from the freezer as an (even better) frozen treat.

Recipe inspired by “Grammy’s Kitchen; The Russell Orchards Fruit Cookbook.”


Grape Whole Wheat Scones



Grape Whole Wheat Scones

Been meaning to post this recipe, too.  I am a fan of easy-to-whip-up baked goods that include whole wheat flour and seasonal fruits.  I’m, also, into using yogurt in baked goods, instead of milk.  Yogurt gives the food a dense attribute and I, somehow, feel that I am filling Charlotte’s tummy for longer with these ingredients.  She burns through food so fast, these things occupy my mind.  I plan to experiment with other whole grains, too, like spelt and rye.  I will report back.  For now, love these….

Grape Whole Wheat Scones

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter

1 cup grapes, sliced in half

3/4 cup plain, full fat yogurt

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, salt.

Slice butter into small pieces and work into the flour with the tips of your fingers until the mixture feels like it is full of small pellets.

Stir in the grapes.

Gently stir in the yogurt until the dry ingredients are wet, being careful not to over-stir.

Pat into circles using just your hands or a round pastry cutter.  Cut in half to make half-circles, or leave as large circles about 3 inches wide for bigger, but fewer, scones.

Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees until the edges are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones Recipe.

After School Playdate

Peanut Butter in the Batter, Jelly in the Middle



Saturday Morning

We are still adjusting to the early school mornings and figuring out what to eat on school days.  I am working hard to provide high protein breakfasts so Charlotte will make it to lunchtime at school.  This weekend we tried making a peanut butter & jelly muffin.  The muffin tastes like a peanut butter cookie with a jam center and call for a glass of milk on the side.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

1 cup white flour

1 cup wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1 large egg

1 cup milk, keifer, or buttermilk


Mix flour, sugar, baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix peanut butter and egg. Slowly add milk.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed.  The result will be stiff and dough-like.

Spoon into muffins tins, filling half way, to start.  Use your finger to make a space for jam amd fill each with a scoop if jam in the center of each muffin.  Press a smaller amount of dough on too if each to seal in the jam.

Bake 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Recipe inspired by “Muffins.  Sixty Sweet and Savory Recipes…From Old Favorites to New,” by Elizabeth Alston

Dress-ups & Homework

Roasted Chicken & Baking Powder Biscuits


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Baking Powder Biscuits

Looking for an easy biscuit to make after school for snacks, lunches, and to have with a chicken dinner, I am happiest with this one from The King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook.  The dough is made is about ten minutes and the biscuits baked in about twenty minutes.  I rolled dough balls and arranged them in a pie pan that fit in my toaster oven so they could be baked while a whole chicken roasted in the main oven.

Once greens are arranged in large bowls, and tomatoes sliced, we will have a chicken salad with fresh biscuits for dinner,  chicken bones to make stock another day, and leftover chicken to incorporate in to the next few lunches and dinners.  We are feeling the need for efficiency in these early weeks back to school amd an afternoon roasting a chicken and baking biscuits gets the job done.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Mix 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar.

Cut into the dry mixture 6 tablespoons butter and crumble with yiur hands until the butter is  the size of small pebbles.

Gently mix in 1 cup milk, buttermilk, yogurt or keifer unril the dough sticks together and you can form balls.

Place balls of dough on a greased pan and bake for 20 minutes at 425.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

Rinse a whole chicken and place in a roasting pan.  Coat with olive oil and stuff cavities with three cloves garlic.  Salt and pepper the outside and place in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes per pound of chicken.  Test the internal temperature and continue cooking until it reaches 160.

Recipe from Chic Simple Cooking

Back to School

Sourdough Bread



Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread

The toughest part of bread making, in my opinion, is working out the timing throughout the day.  For this recipe, the sponge can be made the night before and set on the counter until the following mid-day when the dough can be made, (optionally, be left to rise for another 2-4 hours), then shaped and left to rise 2 hours before baking 25 minutes for dinner.

1 cup sourdough starter

1 1/2 cups warm water

5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

cornmeal or polenta to sprinkle on pans

boiling water for oven

Make the Sponge:  Mix well your sourdough starter and pour one cup into a large mixing bowl.  (With the remaining starter, add one cup flour and one cup water to replenish it.)   To the one cup of starter, add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and 3 cups of flour.  Mix.  Cover the bowl with a towel.  It will come to life as it sits on the kitchen counter 2-24 hours.

Making the Dough (& an Optional Rise:  Blend salt, sugar, & baking soda into 2 cups of flour.  Mix this into the sponge.When the dough begins to hold together, turn it out onto a floured board and knead for 3-4 minutes.  Add flour as needed to make a fairly stiff dough.  When you have accomplished that, give the dough a rest while you clean out the bowl and grease it.  Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, cover with a clean cloth, & let it sit on the counter to rise for 2-4 hours.  This rise is optional.  However, adding it will create a more sour flavor in your bread.

Shaping:  Punch down the risen dough and shape it into two long (or round) loaves.  Place them on a baking sheet or in a cast iron skillet sprinkled with cornmeal or polenta.  Let the shaped loaves rise on their pans for about 2 hours.  Towards the end of the rising period, place a deep dish baking pan on the bottom rack and preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Baking:  Just before it is time to bake, use a sharp knife to make a few diagonal slashes, a few inches long and 1/4 inch deep, in the top of each loaf.  Brush each loaf with cold water. Pour 2-3 cups of water in the hot pan on the bottom rack of the oven and put the loaves in the steamy oven on a rack just above the steam.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  When you remove the loaves from the oven, the crusts will be very hard.  Soon, they will be soft and chewy, and a pleasure to eat with fresh butter.

Recipe from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook

Sourdough Bread


Garden Sunflowers

Fermented Foods


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Peach Salsa

Peach Salsa Recipe

Tomatoes, peaches, onions, tomatillos, cilantro, salt. 🍴

Fermented Foods

Prepare:  To prepare produce for fermenting, first chop &/or grate produce, throwing it all in a large bowl about the capacity of the jar in which it will ferment.  Sprinkle salt on the chopped pieces of food in the bowl, mixing with your hands.  As you add more food, sprinkle more salt and continue to coat & mix.  The general rule of thumb is to use 1-3 tablespoons of salt to one quart of food to create a brine.  As the salt sits on the food, it brings out the juices and the bowl will have extra liquid in the bottom by the time you are finished.

Pack:  Be sure to add this liquid to the fermenting jar, pack the food in your jar, and top off the liquid by adding water until the water line is above the salted food packed in the jar.  I started fermenting with a one quart Mason Jar, but I use a two quart Mason jar now that my family eats fermented vegetables regularly.  Kraut Source makes a fermenting lid that will foolproof the fermenting process, ensuring a safely fermented jar of food for consumption.  I always use one of their lids on my ferment jars.

Ferment:  Fermenting jars of food can sit out on your kitchen counter for a few days to a week or two.  Salsa ferments in two days, but I let kraut sit a week or two.  It is completely fine to taste it, or eat it, at any time.  Your goal is a salty mixture with a subtle fizzy tang.

Eat:  Once your fermented food reaches a taste you like, store it in the refrigerator and eat it at you leisure.  There are many recipes floating around Instagram, but I tend to use produce from my weekly Farm Box delivery, fresh, in-season produce.  I have seen herbs added to ferment jars, as well.  I eat it straight from the jar, in sandwich wraps, and on salads.  Have fun & enjoy this extra healthy way to consume local fruits & vegetables.

Apple Kraut Recipe

Cabbage, apple, onion, cucumber, carrot, salt. 🍴

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes Recipe

Green tomatoes, nectarines, Walla Walla onions, salt. 🍴

Classic Glo Bar


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Classic Glo Bar ~ Travel & Camping Snack

Classic Glo Bar

When Angela Liddon, author of The Oh She Glows Cookbook, made these bars and posted them on social media nearly ten years ago, they were an instant viral recipe sensation.  She found herself making 500 bars a week in her home kitchen to sell and has, more recently, shared the recipe in her cookbook as a thank you to her followers.  “Thank you, Angela Lidden, for a superior bar recipe.”  These are my new homemade go-to bar for travel & camping, and I am grateful.

Classic Glo Bar Recipe

1 1/2 cups oats

1 1/4 crisp rice cereal (make sure it is “crisp”)

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup seeds (sunflower, pepita)

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup nut butter (peanut, cashew, sunflower seed, almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Line a square cake pan with parchment paper hanging over the edge.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, crisp rice cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.

In a saucepan, stir together the brown rice syrup and nut butter.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture heats, softens, & bubbles.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour the warm mixture over the dry mixture in the bowl and mix well.  Fold the chocolate chips in if you are adding them.

Transfer to the parchment paper in the pan and spread around, pressing in all corners.

Place pan in freezer to let it set for 10 minutes.  Remove and cut into bars with a pizza slicer, wrap indivually in wax paper and return to freezer to fully set and store.

Camping at San Simeon State Park, California