Meatless Monday

Are you familiar with persimmons?  Until  

 two days ago The only thing I knew about them was that I knew very little about them! I knew they were beautiful and kind of reminded me of tomatoes. I also knew that I was sure that Pottery Barn had named a color of throw blanket or towel: perfectly persimmon.

I knew nothing about fragrance, texture or flavor. I’m sure I have read something about them in reference to a Shakespearean play…but, alas, I cannot be sure.

When Chase, Andrew and I went to Lee Lee International Market here in town to find Lychees to make eyeballs for my Halloween Dark and Stormy Death Punch, I dragged them through the entire 20,000 square foot store that holds items from all over the world. I was hoping they would have some fresh lychees but we didn’t find any. On a brighter note, we found fresh persimmons and jack fruit, which are divine. 

This is the recipe I found for an ultra simple but delicious fruit crisp. I hope you enjoy it!

If you have any inspiring persimmon recipes, please leave a link to them in comments section below. I’d love to explore some more!

Coastal Kitchen’s twist on the traditional fruit crisp!


  • 3 peeled and sliced persimmons
  •  2 cups blueberries 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  •  1/2 cup flour
  •  1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter (chilled and cut into pea sized cubes) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 

Optional add-ons:
• vanilla bean ice cream


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grease the bottom of a 24cm pie dish with butter. 
  3. Arrange the sliced persimmons on the bottom of the pan, then cover with blueberries. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with a fork or wisk. 
  5. Toss the chilled butter cubes into the the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork. 
  6. Cover the fruit with the dry crumble mix and bake for 30 minutes. 

* Stick a fork in the persimmons to make sure they are soft after 30 minutes.

Knowing Your Value

A couple of years ago, I read a book called “Knowing Your Value” by Mika IMG_2626Brzezinski.  Mika, I can call her that because I feel like we’re friends, writes about her personal experience of negotiating her worth in the world of journalism on the popular morning political roundtable “Morning Joe.”  She not only talks about the roadblocks that women still face in the workplace but also of how women get in their own way.  She interviews some amazing women about how they have succeeded and failed in promoting themselves in the workplace and, knowing their value.  As I write my personal statement for law school, I find that I need to read this book again.  The tone in which I write is one of justifying the choices I have made and not tooting my own horn.  Deep down, I know my value, but in many ways, we, as women, are conditioned to downplay our accomplishments and blindly subscribe to certain gender roles.

When Ryan (my husband) read my personal statement he said: “I feel like you’re apologizing for the path you have taken, like you’re trying to justify being a stay-at-home-mom.  Honey, you’re a badass and the admissions committee needs to see that you’re a badass!”

Isn’t he the best?

Why do we do this to ourselves?  I started to think about this question and in light of an article in the Washington Post I read recently called “Nurses, Fathers, Teachers, Mothers.  Why do we devalue someone the minute they care for others?”,  solidified the fact that we undervalue ourselves as caregivers.  We mothers are raising these little beings to be independent, upstanding individuals who are one day going to go out into the world on their own and we feel like this isn’t important.  We are the only advocates for these helpless beings in the initial years, yet I feel like I need to write about every single plate spinning in the air so that the law school admission committee will see that I didn’t just sit on the couch for the last 6 years.  We as a society don’t value the benevolent act of caring for someone else, especially when we cut hours at work or even worse, put a career on hold.

I have worked my tail off for the last 6 years growing children, taking care of them and a house, all while trying to stay relevant and get back into “shape.”  There is honor in what many people do in my position.  I’m not done raising my children but I’m done apologizing and making excuses for deciding to stay home with them.


Meatless Monday: Roasted Kabocha Squash Casserole

I found a wonderful recipe for a delicious roasted kabocha squash casserole.  It wasimage
quite easy and was a perfect compliment to my Thanksgiving trial meal, which included the corn casserole recipe from a couple of weeks ago.  It is from a blog called Fighting Flare…super cool.  Cindi, the author, has a daughter with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), more specifically, Ulcerative Colitis and when her daughter has an episode, it is called a “flare”, hence the name “Fighting Flare.”  Check it out!  She calls it a “sweet Faux-tato” casserole, but I call it divine!

Roasted Kabocha Squash Casserole



1 large kabocha squash (approx. 5-5.5 lbs.), roasted
3/4 – 1 c. honey (depending how sweet you want it)
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1 cup salted butter, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
2 T vanilla


12 medjool dates, pitted
8 oz. pecans
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted


1. Cut Kabocha squash in half, coat the inside with EVOO, and roast cut side down on a jelly roll pan for approximately and hour in a 400 degree oven.

2. Combine the warm squash, honey, coconut milk, egg, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Break up gently with a wooden spoon and mix…do not overly mash…leave some chunks. This will be very liquidy…don’t panic. Pour mixture into a shallow 4-quart baking dish and place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  (You can also split it into two smaller baking dishes if you need to.)

3. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes to firm up slightly. While baking, make the nut topping.

4. To make the topping, pulse dates and pecans in food processor until they become a coarse crumb. Drizzle in melted coconut oil to coat.

5. Remove casserole from oven, gently spread nut topping over the surface. Return to oven and bake uncovered for another 12-15 minutes.

6. Remove when nuts start to brown and casserole is set. Let the casserole rest a bit before serving to firm up even more.




What if?


He found the perfect pair!

What if? is a question that comes to mind frequently when you’re a parent.  There are so many questions you have as you’re raising these creatures from infancy into adulthood.  It all starts with: What if he doesn’t latch? What if he doesn’t poop? What if he doesn’t sleep? What if he’s on the spectrum? What if he doesn’t walk? What if he doesn’t talk? It then moves on to: What if he doesn’t eat vegetables? What if he doesn’t get potty trained?

The “what if?” question at hand for me right now stems from the fact that Andrew picked pink and silver sparkly sketchers with a big pink bow on them.  A family member asked me: What if he’s gay?

I took the boys to buy new shoes and while Chase went directly to the boys’ section, Andrew made a bee-line to the girls’ section.  He pulled down a pair of pink and silver light up shoes called “Twinkle Toes.”  I let him try them on.  What’s the harm right?  He’s 3.  Besides, real men wear pink!

While I was helping Chase with his shoes, Andrew was over the moon happy about his new shoes.  They were the only ones he tried on.  Two little girls and their mother passed the aisle we were in and they all started giggling.  Andrew held out his foot with pride.  I heard the younger little girl say: “But mom, he’s a boy!”

I sent a picture of both boys in their new shoes to Ryan and he said his first reaction was: “No!” but then he said he thought to himself: “I’m not wearing the shoes.  And, if anyone makes fun of him he can take care of himself!”  I’m not surprised that Ryan is ok with it.  And yes, Andrew has no problem defending himself if anyone makes fun of him.

During our California trip, there were several looks of horror and comments like: “Good luck with that!”  But most of the people who saw him were supportive.  They thought it was a good thing that he picked what he wanted and that we “allowed” that.  Of course we would.  I’m not wearing the shoes, Andrew is.  Plus, I’m not in the mood to fight about putting on shoes.  I was not about to buy Andrew a pair of shoes that I would have to force onto his feet each day.

But, what if he’s gay? Or, transgender? Or Pansexual? Or…Or…Or?


Each time I paint my nails, Andrew wants to join in too.

Well, what if he is?  He’ll still be my son.  He’ll still be a human being in need of love and affirmation.  I will love him no matter what biology has made him.  Andrew is part of Ryan and me.  He is our sweet (most of the time) little child who likes sparkly shoes.  Oh, and he also likes to paint his nails.

Get over it.


Purée of Cauliflower with Garlicky Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts

Vacation tends to force me to recalibrate my eating.  Over the last week, I have tried to keep things healthy but sometimes I found it hard not to indulge.  Now that we are home and getting back in our routine, I have found some super yummy recipes that will feel indulgent but are healthy!

This one is a good start and is from one of my favorite sources: Andrea Bemis’ Dishing Up the Dirt. Andrea has provided many recipes to the Barre3 blog and you can find this one below and on their blog.

Cauliflower Puree with Garlicky Swiss Chard

Serves 4


1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Pepper to taste

1 large bunch of swiss chard, tough stems removed and chopped

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. water

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste


1. Set a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with water until it reaches just below the basket. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, cover and steam until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.

2. While cauliflower steams, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove pine nuts and set aside. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add swiss chard and 3 Tbsp. water. Reduce heat to low and sauté until chard is tender and wilted, about 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Once cauliflower is ready, transfer to a high-speed blender and add 3 Tbsp. olive oil, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.

4. Place cauliflower in a large serving bowl topped with chard and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Girl, You’ve Got This

While on our trip in SoCal, we visited some friends who just had a baby.  They are not new parents. They are seasoned professionals.

Though Mama is “in the weeds” right now, I just kept thinking to myself: “Girl, You’ve Got This!”  I’ve mentioned her before. She’s Danielle Schaffer of City Girl Gone Mom. And trust me when I say this, She’s Got This.  Her blog needs no help from me, she has thousands of followers. If I were in her position right now, I would be institutionalized. She is a successful blogger, photographer, lamp designer, mom of 4, stylish wife, and she’s building a new house. I’m tired just typing that! Though she may feel overwhelmed right now, Danielle is rocking it with Her usual style. Her husband is a hands on dad who adores his wife and kids…and the kids couldn’t be cuter or nicer! They were so nice and generous with our boys. Bobby and Danielle are definitely doing this parenting thing well!

Our short visit with this now complete brood was full of joy, chaos and reconnection. Because we have lived so far away from them for so long, we jumped at the chance to spend some time with their kiddos, pick up some groceries for dinner and clean up the kitchen as the evening began to wind down.  Ryan and Bobby were in the Navy together. Bobby was in our wedding, and the first time I met Danielle, we hit it off immediately. 

As football was being watched and the kids were dressed up in all manner of Knights, the Hulk, and who knows what, Bobby asked Ryan:  “Why is Quin doing all of the dishes?” Ryan’s response was: “I don’t know, I think it’s a mom thing. Just let her do it.”  You know what? It is a mom thing. It’s a “I know how she feels right now and I want to make things a little easier for her.” Though I don’t have 4 kiddos, I know how it feels to be covered in milk, sweaty, tired, hormonal and hosting people at my house! The first couple of months are delicious and yet terrifying. Time slips away from you so easily. 


Meatless Monday: Corn Casserole

Mix well and bake! Our friend “Hadge”  

 made this recipe at our most recent GTW. I can say only this about her recipe for Corn Casserole: delicious!  I tried it out last week as a test for Thanksgiving recipes. You will see the other recipe I tried next week. They are both home runs!

Corn Casserole

Serves 8-10 as a side dish


1 Can of corn (do not drain)

1 Can of creamed corn

1 stick of salted butter (melted)

2 eggs

I box of Jiffy

4 oz sour cream (or yogurt)


1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl then pour into a 9×13 baking and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.

Meatless Monday: Individual Zucchini, Lemon, and Ricotta Galettes

My boys are really into pizza.  Anytime I mistakenly ask what the boys image want for dinner, the answer is usually: PIZZA!!!!  Don’t get me wrong, I love it too but I really try to offer the boys a wide range of foods with different flavors and from different cultures.  The recipe here is a pizza of sorts and what I found is that it is delicious for breakfast.  It would be a great option for a brunch.  Plus, it reheats beautifully in either the microwave or under the broiler for about 6 minutes.  The recipe comes from the October 2008 Bon Appetit.

Individual  Zucchini, Lemon and Ricotta Galettes



2 cups all purpose flower

1/2 tsp salt (preferably fleur de sel)

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 Tbsp (or more) iced water


5 1/2 cups coarse.y grated zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs)

1 1/4 tsp salt, divided

4 Tbsp butter, divided

4 tsp EVOO

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp ground black pepper


1. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until coarse meal forms.  Add 4 Tbsp ice water, 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring until a dough forms moist clumps, and adding more water by teaspoonfuls as needed if dough is too dry.  Form dough into 2 balls; flatten each into disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.  ***can be made 2 days ahead.  Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before rolling out.


1. Place zucchini in colander set over a large bowl.  Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp salt and toss to coat.  Let drain 30 minutes.  Working in batches, squeeze zucchini in kitchen towel to remove as much liquid as possible.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add zucchini and lemon juice; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

3. Whisk ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan, egg, lemon peel, 1/2 tsp peppe, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt in medium bowl.  Stir in cooled zucchini mixture.

4. Preheat oven oven to 425F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.  Roll out 1 dough disk to 1/8″ thickness.  Using 6″ diameter plate, cut out 3 dough rounds.  Repeat with the other dough disk.  Place 3 rounds on each baking sheet.

5. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter.  Spoon 1/2 cup filling into center of 1 dough round, leaving 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ border.  Carefully fold up border, pleating dough edges to create round pastry with about 2 to 2 1/2″ of exposed filling in the center.  Repeat with remaining filling and dough rounds.  Brush crusts with melted butter.  Drizzle any remaining butter over filling in centers.  Sprinkle Galettes with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.

6. Bake Galettes 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F. Bake until crust is golden and filling is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes longer.  run spatula under Galettes to loosen.  Let rest 5 minutes.  ***Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.  Can be served hot or at room temperature.




Girls Weekend! 10 Year Anniversary

Since 2005 Sarah and I have made an annual trek to an agreed upon place somewhere in either Northern Indiana or Northern Illinois with 5 other friends from high school. As you are aware by now, our high school experience was not like your average high school experience. It was formative in a way that changed my whole perspective on life and the world.

Our experiences as teenagers at Culver exposed us to cultures unlike our own, instilled a moral compass in our decisions and allowed us to foster loyalty among our classmates. This loyalty has kept friendships strong in the 20 years since we passed through the CGA arch.

Over the years, we have celebrated professional accomplishments and personal triumphs but we have also supported each other through struggles of all levels. It is during the struggles that are loyalties to one another are confirmed.  We operate in a judgement-free zone, which allows for not only growth but security. Each of these ladies knows that I would go to the ends of the earth for them. I know they would do the same if I were in need.

 Each of us is beautiful, funny, intelligent, empathetic and loyal.  We are also vulnerable. That vulnerability makes us human and connects us.  Every time we are together we laugh, cry, reminisce, and make plans.  Though I was in the midst of studying for the LSAT, it was a good study break and chance to have these wonderful women around me to orient my compass toward the goals I have made.

A couple of weeks ago, we convened as we do for a weekend of food, drinks, dogs, tears, and of course laughter!

Thank you ladies for another great GTW! 



Meatless Monday: Heirloom Tomato Pie With Almond Flour Crust + Creamy Cashew Herb Filling

I have posted from Andrea Bemis’ website Dishing Up the Dirt several times.  Her recipes are not only delicious but interesting!

Dishing Up the Dirt

Dishing Up the Dirt

Many of them are vegan, which we are trying to do more of in our family.  This recipe simply knocks it out of the park.  The boys loved it and I caught Ryan shoving in an additional mouthful after dinner was over.  The Creamy Cashew Herb Filling is outstanding.  The recipe makes more than you’ll need for the pie, so I tired it on a couple of things: crackers, toast, in a wrap sandwich.  Dee-lish!

Another reason why I love this recipe?  It calls for the beautifully colored and shaped tomatoes in the “Heirloom” category.  I’m not sure why, but seeing the red, red-green, yellow, yellow-green, and orange hues.  They aren’t perfect.  They aren’t uniform.  I think that’s why I love them.

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Almond Flour Crust + Creamy Cashew Herb Filling

2 cups almond meal/flour
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon water
Cashew Herb Filling
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, diced
1/4 cup water + additional to thin if necessary
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Olive oil for drizzling
salt + pepper
fresh basil, roughly chopped
Serves 4
1. Place the sliced tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let rest for about 10 minutes. Flip the tomatoes and place on another layer of paper towels. Sprinkle with a little more salt and keep aside until ready to use.

2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9 inch pie plate with plenty of oil. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal/flour, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and water and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Press the dough into your prepared pie plate until it is evenly dispersed across the bottom and up the sides. Bake until the crust is lightly golden and firm to the touch. About 18-20 minutes.

3. Prepare the cashew herb sauce by draining and rinsing the soaked cashews. Place the garlic, lemon juice, basil, and parsley in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the cashews, 1/4 cup water and salt. Process until it reaches the consistency of a thick ricotta cheese (add more water-1 teaspoon at a time-until desired consistency) Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.

4. Remove the pre-baked pie crust from the oven. Spread a medium-thick layer of the cashew-herb sauce over the crust (there will be leftovers!) then layer with the sliced tomatoes (after patting them dry). Sprinkle with fresh basil, salt + pepper. Drizzle the whole pie with a little olive oil and place back in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown and the tomatoes are lightly shriveled. If the crust is becoming dark brown too early, place a layer of tin foil over the crust to prevent burning.

5. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool for 25 minutes before slicing and enjoying.


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