I’ll Be Back!

Not in the way Arnold came back.  But in the way you expect me to come back: with recipes, venting and information on how to stay sane as a mom.

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Meatless Monday: Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions

I’m always looking for meal ideas to send in the boys’ lunches.  Their school is vegetarian and nut-free, so that can get tricky.  In addition, there is not a microwave or manner in which they could warm up their food so, a cold lunch is always on the menu.

I can always count on Cook’s Illustrated to provide tested and delicious recipes, often with multiple options!  Below is the most recent one I’m going to try.  I’ll add a picture tonight after I make them.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions


4 Russet Potatoes

Vegetable oil

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 cups broccoli florets (cut into 1 inch pieces), stems discarded

Sea salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp powdered mustard

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

3-4 scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup half and half

ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven 400 degrees.  Scrub, dry and lightly rub them with vegetable oil.  Bake potatoes on foil-lined baking sheet until a skewer can be inserted into an removed from potatoes with little resistance, 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool on Baking sheet 10 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are baking, heat 2 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides; add broccoli and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp water, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Uncover and continue to cook until water evaporates, about 1 minute.  Transfer to bowl and stir in lemon juice.
  3. Halve each potato lengthwise.  Using a soup spoon, scoop the flesh from each half into a bowl, leaving about 3/8″ thickness of flesh.  Place shells cut-sides up on the baking sheet and return to oven until dry and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth,; stir in melted butter, 3/4 tsp salt, powdered mustard, 1 cup cheese, scallion, sour cream, half and half, and pepper to taste, then stir in broccoli.
  5. Remove shells from oven; heat broiler.  Mound filling into shells; sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and broil until spotty brown, 6 to 10 minutes,  Cool 5 minutes and serve,

Other flavor combinations:

  1. Bacon, cabbage and cheddar
  2. Ham, Peas, and Gruyere

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Meatless Monday: Red Chile Sauce


After soaking the dried chiles over night, I pulled the stems off and popped them into the blender with the rest of the ingredients

Hear me out.  It’s not that hard.  Buy some dried, whole chiles. Soak them.  Combine with a few ingredients, puree, strain and Voila!  You’ve got a delicious sauce that isn’t just for meat.  Of course you can use with meat but the possibilities are endless!  Tucson Tamale Company has a wide selection of delicious tamales and they sell them in stand alone stores, at several grocery stores and the ship nationwide!


3 oz dried Red chiles

1 Tbsp EVOO

1 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp oregano

1/2 onion finely diced

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place dried chiles in bowl and cover with water.  Be sure to fully submerge chiles by placing an additional bowl on top.  Allow them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain chiles.  Remove stems. If you want a mild level of heat, remove seeds.  Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, sauté EVOO, garlic oregano and onion until soft.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, add chiles and sautéed ingredients to a blender with 1 1/2 cups water and blend.  Adding additional water to achieve your desired consistency.
  5. Push blended mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the sauce pan.  Warm over medium-low heat, season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Serving suggestions: Spoon over tamales, eggs, roasted chicken, roasted vegetables.  Or add it to rice or soups.  You can even mix it in to hummus to add a little something special.  Oh, and I’ll post a picture of the finished product after I make another batch.  Ryan got to it before I could capture it.

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Meatless Monday: Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut Scones

IMG_1288I love my Crockpot and will try just about any recipe in it.  When I saw this recipe I thought to myself: Oh, I hope this is good.  I posted it initially not having tried it, which I don’t normally do. But I made an exception because it looked like fun to try.

The execution of the recipe is straight forward and simple.  One note, I have a large oval shaped Crockpot so the dough does NOT cover the entire crock.  That didn’t seem to matter.  The texture was perfect in my opinion.  I am a fan normally of thick dense cream scones.  The almond flour in this recipe gives you that same dense texture.  In addition, the outer edges have a nice crispiness that is delicious.  And the flavor is divine.  Sweet but not too sweet.  And, if you use fresh berries, just be sure to be gentle with them so you don’t crush them.  Enjoy!

If you have any thoughts on your experience, please put them in the comments section below!

Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut SconesIMG_1291

1 egg
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar
1½ cup Almond Flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz Fresh Blueberries
¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder

1. Line a 4 qt crock pot with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl beat egg, sugar, and coconut oil until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries. Mix thoroughly. Add the blueberries and gently fold them in.

3. Press the batter into the parchment lined crock pot and cook on high for 2 – 2.5 hours or low for about 5 hours or until the scones are baked through. You will know when the center is firm.

4. Turn off the crock pot and remove the lid to allow the scones to cool completely before removing. Let them cool at least 30 minutes.

5. Then slice and serve.

6. Store uneaten scones in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.

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Meatless Monday: Sesame Noodles

You’ve got to love a dish that can be almost anything: lunch, dinner, snack, vegetarian, vegan, clean, hot, cold and IMG_1285kid friendly.  I’ve made the base recipe several times in the last couple of weeks with different variations and they have all be delicious.  My copy of Clean Eats has been getting a workout with the kiddos being at camp.  That’s where this recipe comes from and you won’t be disappointed.

Now, you don’t have to make the recipe “clean” but I did.  The noodles for the recipe are delicious and I feel a great addition to your noodle repertoire.  I found mine on “Thrive” market, but you can find them at International markets, Whole Foods or your local Co-Op.


Noodle base:

1 package King Soba Black Noodles

1 medium carrot, grated

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 roughly chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds


1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp wheat-free tamarin (soy sauce)

1 red chili (optional

2 garlic cloves

1 inch chunk ginger

Optional “mix-in” ideas: chicken, smoked salmon, edamame, cucumber, bell pepper, and radish


Have all the mix-in items prepared and the dressing blended before cooking the rice noodles, so the noodles will still be warm when you combine everything.

In a blender or small bowl, puree or whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package (being sure NOT TO OVERCOOK THEM!), then drain them well and transfer them to a large bowl.  Toss the warm noodles with the mix in items.  Dress the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat everything thoroughly.  Serve immediately.  If you have any leftovers, you can reheat them or eat them cold.

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Meatless Monday: Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

The name alone had me wanting one.  I am a fan of the breakfast cookie.  Plus, the kiddos love them too.  I IMG_1270found this delightful recipe on a new to me blog called: Love and Lemons.  Take a look around on this blog, it is pretty darn creative.  And, you can buy an actual cookbook, which is always tempting.  As you may remember, Ryan and I are trying our darnedest to eat clean, so this recipe fit the bill.

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

1 cup oat flour (made from 1¼ cups whole rolled oats)*
1 cup (additional) whole rolled oats* (see note)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely shredded carrots
2 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons warm water
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup nuts and/or seeds (I used walnuts + pepitas)
½ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Use a food processor or a blender to process the 1¼ cups rolled oats into a fine flour and measure out one level cup.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, the remaining 1 cup whole oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt. Fold in the quinoa and then the shredded carrots, stirring until the carrots are completely coated with flour.

4. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir well to incorporate. Stir in the flaxseed mixture.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in just until combined. Stir in the walnuts, pepitas, and cranberries.

6. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter for each cookie onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When cookies are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.
*Be sure to use certified gluten free oats to make these gluten free.

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Meatless Monday: Not Your Mama’s Brownies

When I saw this recipe, I thought to myself: “Heck yes!  I’ll be making these!”  I posted the link a couple of Black Bean Browniesweeks ago and just had the chance to make them.  If you’ve never heard of “Mindy Body Green”, check the site out.

I found the recipe on MBG.  Though hubby and I are trying to eat clean and fuel our bodies with nutritious foods, a treat on occasion is not a sin and I feel will curb any binging that may result from a complete abstention from sugar.

After making this recipe I can confidently say that this will be added into the rotation.  And, we keep them in the freezer.  Hubby keeps all desserts in the freezer.  Normally, I do not support this practice, but in this case it works!

Better for You Black Bean Brownies


1½ cans cooked (unsalted) black beans, drained and rinsed
1¼ cup ground almonds
12 medjool dates*
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 heaped tablespoons cacao powder
3 chia eggs **
Optional topping

chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the drained beans and dates in a food processor and pulse a few times, then blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for another minute.

2. Line up a baking pan with parchment (I used an 8-inch-square cake pan) or grease it with coconut oil. Pour in the mixture and distribute evenly into the pan.

3. Sprinkle walnut pieces on top (if using) and bake for about 25 minutes until flaky on top but still gooey in the center (the brownies will firm up as they cool). Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Store in an air-tight container for up to a week in the fridge.

*if the dates aren’t soft enough, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and discard the water before using them.

** Add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup with 9 tablespoons of water and let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes until the chia seeds have absorbed the water and formed a gel-like consistency.

Note from the original author:

If you make these, tag me in your creations on Instagram using #beyondthebowlbyriri

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Meatless Monday: Millet Polenta with Marinara

Millet.  I’ll be honest, when I first saw it, it reminded me of bird seed.  And, it kind of looks like Quinoa at first glance.  But it is quite delicious and there are Millet Polentamany ways to cook up this delicious little grain.  With an easy internet search, I found basic recipes for two ways to cook it.  Plus, at the end of the article, there are several suggestions for other sites with more recipes.

After getting back from Idaho, I had to take stock of what I had in my pantry



and found I had some staples for a quick and easy meal, so I got to work.  My idea, was to use the “creamy” version of the recipe offered and make it into polenta squares and serve it with marinara, spicy sausage and what else? A Big Salad.  I didn’t have any parmesan so I used nutritional yeast instead and it was delicious!  Why do I have millet in my pantry you ask? Well, before we left for vacation, I bought some to experiment with and just didn’t get around to do the research to make something.  So, with some time and motivation, voila!

Millet Polenta with Marinara


1 cup millet

3 cups water (or you may use broth)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp EVOO



1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese)1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (optional)

1 jar marinara, or 1 1/2 cups homemade marinara

enough Italian Sausages to feed your family


  1. In a medium sauce pan, toast the millet until fragrant (it is nutty in aroma)
  2. Add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes; stirring every few minutes.  With a few minutes left, add the garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare an 8×8 square baking dish with EVOO
  4. Take the polenta off the heat and stir in Nutritional yeast (and herbs if using them) before transferring the mixtures into prepared pan to cool.
  5. While the polenta cools, grill the sausages if using them, and warm the marinara.
  6. Once the polenta has cooled, use a knife to cut squares or triangles and place them on a plate, spoon the warmed marinara over the polenta and serve!

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Meatless Monday: Patriotic Edition

For the last several years, we have spent the 4th of July in Idaho.  We attend a really fun parade in Hailey, ID, Haily 4th Paradeprepare a red, white and blue feast, light sparklers in the front yard and then enjoy the beautiful fireworks display put on by the Sun Valley Resort.

My niece, Indira, has really come into her own when it comes to desserts, so I let her take the reins on that.  And this year is no different!  She has chosen to make_______

For the main meal, we wanted to choose something that we could work on before we left for the parade in Hailey,  that includes meat, but the sides are meatless all the way:

Melon, Berry and Feta Salad

What I love about this salad, is that you get to experience melon in such an interesting and fun way.  Food and Wine does a fantastic job of putting together lists of recipes that you can pick from…it makes this cooking thing a snap!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced preserved lemon peel or lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 green melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 orange or yellow melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup blackberries
2 ounces feta cheese, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons snipped chives


In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, preserved lemon and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the melon slices and blackberries on a platter. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit. Garnish the salad with the feta and snipped chives and serve.
Delicate, berry-scented rosé Champagne: NV Gatinois Brut Rosé.

Baby Potato Salad With Radishes and Celery


3 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 celery hearts, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
8 small scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (1 cup)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Slice the potatoes 1/2 inch thick.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the potatoes and celery. Let stand at room temperature until cool, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, fold in the radishes and scallions and season with salt and pepper.
The potato salad without the radishes and scallions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before adding the radishes and scallions.


Captain and Poopsie: Take the Passport to Dry Creek Festival By Storm!


Getting their wine passports are Captain, Abe and Tracy Elsenraat of Columbia. MO; also dear friends of ours

Rewind to February 1st…Captain and Poopsie were getting ready to enjoy a day of skiing in none other than Ketchum, ID.  It was Poopsie’s first snow adventure in a long time…Poopsie could barely contain herself…

Then, the texts started.  “At 9am Pacific, the site will open and we can purchase tickets for the “Passport to Dry Creek” Festival. Let’s all order tickets at the same time before it sells out!”


Brad and Tara Hochstetler of Traverse City, MI and our dear friends!

That is unless the site crashes.  Thank goodness our friend Tracy volunteered to buy all of the tickets and we could pay her.  Phew!  Captain and Poopsie have skiing to do!

Hotels are researched, dinner reservations are made and outfits are coordinated…looking good in Napa and Sonoma Valleys was an important aspect to Poopsie.


The Barrel Room at Pedroncelli

Our focus: Passport to Dry Creek was the perfect opportunity to learn about wine, eat delicious food and ride around all day on a party bus with the coolest driver ever!  We wound around and up and down the beautiful roads between Napa and Sonoma Valleys and made it to our first winery: Pedroncelli.  It was the best introduction to the day!  The owner greeted us and talked about the house that his father was born in, he grew up in and that now serves as offices for the winery operations.  The Sauvignon Blanc was Poopsie’s second favorite of the day and the food was delicious.  We could have stayed all day!  If we had, they probably wouldn’t have been so nice to us.  There were over 40 more wineries to visit!


Trattore Winery

See how beautiful Poopsie is?  Isn’t Captain a hunk?  Oh, and the beautiful grounds of Trattore winery are too shabby either.  Each winery stamps your “passport” so you can keep track of where you go.  The “Red Tractor” Rhone Blend at Trattorie was one of our favorites.  It is highly recommend by all members of our party.  Plus, they make amazing olive oils too.  The story is, when the owners bought the land, they found olive trees on it and so resurrected them and now have successful harvests to make tasty olive oils and olive wood cutting boards too.  It was a beautiful tasting room and friendly atmosphere.


No, Poopsie didn’t drink the WHOLE bottle, but she could have!

Poopsie can’t help but to love an Indiana connection, so when she saw that “Kokomo” was on the tour, she made it a point to check it out and buy a mixed case.  Captain and Poopsie have some friends who love wine just as much as we do and told us about Kokomo last winter.  The owner, is from non-other than Kokomo, IN, and went to Purdue and Poopsie will forgive him for that because she’s all about Big Ten love.  The food was amazing and provided Poopsie’s FAVORITE Sauvignon Blanc of the day.  Oh, and the band playing at Kokomo played a beautiful version of Purple Rain as a tribute to Prince, who had recently passed away.


Salmon and arugula dish paired with a Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. Delish!

As we moved through the two-day festival, the food was eaten and discussed, the wines were tasted and analyzed.  We all became well versed in the terminology and our own personal preferences.  Though many pictures and notes were taken, it doesn’t do it justice.  The Blanc de Blanc at Fritz Winery was divine.  In addition, the grounds on which the winery was situated were beautiful!  Fritz is built into the side of a hill.  We entered through a cave!


Tracy and Martha at Ferrari-Carano

By the end of the two days, we had reconnected, caught up and bonded over a beautiful combination of food and wine.  Inside jokes were created and shared and our friendships made stronger.  We’ll definitely go back again.   Though we don’t often get together, we talk often via texts and share our lives digitally.  Poopsie is certain that we will again join together for food, wine and lots more fun.

Next week’s post focuses on the next phase of jet setting: San Francisco. Put on your seat belts!  Captain and Poopsie drive into the city, meet up with some other fun friends and enjoy sports, history and fashion!!!

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