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Summer Asparagus Penne with Artichoke & Cashew Pesto

I have a habit lately. I get a great picture of food and post it to Instagram and say “blog post to follow!”

A blog post never follows.

Like, ever.

Not today though. This one is too good not to share so I’m posting it while my belly is full, my mind is fresh, and my glass of rose is still cold.

The recipe makes two serving and each contains the following nutritional content. I share because I care. And because I entered it in MyFitnessPal in an effort to not undo deadly workouts with dinner.

Calories 390  |  Fat 13g  |  Carbs 51g  |  Protein 15g


  • Pesto
    • 7 grams Cashews (about 2 tablespoons)
    • 1 Clove Garlic
    • 2 tsp Olive Oil
    • 1 oz Marinated Artichoke Hearts (about 3-5 sections)
    • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
    • 1 Cup Basil, loosely packed
    • 1 tsp Salt, to taste
    • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz Pasta – I used Ancient Grains Gluten Free
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus, use tender ends and soft stems only
  • 3 oz Crumbled Feta

In a food processor or chopper, blend everything but the artichokes into a pesto, leaving some texture. Add Artichokes at the end to chop finely and set aside. If the pesto seems dry, add a splash of water.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When there’s about 5 minutes left, toss in your asparagus. You want it tender, not mushy!

Drain the pasta and asparagus, return to the burner (now off but still hot) and stir in your pesto. Sprinkle in the feta and stir in and it will gently melt into the pasta.

Serve. Enjoy.


Gluten Free Soft Baked Pretzels

It’s Pride in Seattle and it turns out I live at the epicenter. In addition to the inspiring atmosphere of celebrating love (and people watching of epic proportions), there’s a street fair with all of the expected food typically reserved for closing time and cash only establishments. By the time I got home all I could think about was food on sticks and…

Pretzels. Gluten Free Bagels - 9 of 9I had not yet tried making my own, but my bagels were a success a few years ago and knowing that my flour blend has improved I figured it was worth a shot.

I based this off a regular flour recipe by The Kitchn and made modifications as I’ve learned for gluten free baking, including doubling the yeast, and using milk instead of water for the liquid.


  • 1 Cup Warm Milk
  • 4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2-2.5 Cups Gluten Free Flour Blend, such as my blend here or something similar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Coarse Sea Salt for sprinkling

Place warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl and let it bubble and simmer and froth up for about 10 minutes.

Mix your 1st cup of flour, salt and xanthan gum together and add it to your liquid, mixing on low speed with the dough hook attachment. Slowly add the second cup of flour until it makes a flaky and sticky dough ball.

Move the dough to your counter and knead a bit until everything begins to smooth. Gluten Free Bagels - 1 of 9Transfer into a bowl and coat with olive oil, cover, and raise in a warm spot until it’s doubled in size. I set my oven on warm, even though it’s around 80 degrees in my apartment. I may need to rethink my choices to heat up my apartment when it’s already an oven inside in late June.

You have an hour or two. Go watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Or, you know, something equally cool.

When your dough has risen, turn your oven to preheat to 450 degrees and set about 4″ of water to boil on the stove.

Punch the dough back down and knead about a minute back into a soft ball and divide into four sections. Gluten Free Bagels - 2 of 9Take each of the four sections, and working very gently, roll into four long ropes and twist into a pretzel shape. Don’t ask me how, ask YouTube. It’s not at all intuitive, and I’ve tried 25 times to write out how I did it. Honestly I have no idea. Good luck, and God speed. They taste good even if they’re ugly (25% of mine proved that nicely). Gluten Free Bagels - 3 of 9Bring about 4 inches of water to boil and add the sugar and baking soda, stirring until dissolved. Take the water back down to a low (but still bubbling) simmer and carefully boil each pretzel 2-3 minutes. Most recipes will tell you to flip them. I don’t recommend it. It will work without doing so, and you won’t have to cry over broken pretzels. Gluten Free Bagels - 4 of 9Transfer each to paper towels to drain excess liquid then to a parchment lined baking sheet. Once each has boiled, coat with a wash of an egg whipped with a couple tablespoons of water and sprinkle with sea salt. Gluten Free Bagels - 5 of 9Bake for about 18-22 minutes. I checked mine after about 12 minutes, added more egg wash because I thought they were nearly done and not turning golden, and then at 15 minutes discovered they weren’t nearly done enough and put them back in. I’m telling you this because the result you see below is completely delicious but looks completely overdone. Over zealous egg washing due to impatience. We all have our flaws.

I would love to report back how these store, but as it stands, there are only 2 left (fine, 1.75) and Game of Thrones is about to start, so I think I’ll see how it pairs with an ungodly amount of classic yellow mustard and a corona for dinner.


Have you tried it? Any suggestions? Comments? Questions? Is Aria going to get her revenge tonight? Am I getting off track?

Happy Sunday. Enjoy!





Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Where’s Whole30 week 3? Yeah, there’s not. Life got too hectic to control every bite I ate and I didn’t feel I was going to get the full benefit doing it half way (more on that later).

For now, I’m still keeping it fairly light hoping my pants will respect my efforts. I bought cauliflower to make a creamy ‘bisque’ like this one, but in my pinterest rabbit hole got caught up in the idea of making cauliflower fried rice.

I’ll preface this with saying that I’ve tried cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and “pizza” and god knows what and I didn’t like any of it. But the texture of this seemed promising, and it was a good chance to use my new little Ninja chopper that’s been lurking since Christmas with no love. IMG_2212IMG_2213

I pulverized half a head in the chopper. I was surprised and impressed by the rice like texture. Promising.

Repeat with some mushrooms, garlic, and a shallot.

So turns out? A wok would be a helpful piece of kitchen equipment to have. Add that to the list for the next time I’m at Ikea.

Either way, I used a large pot on the stove and sautéed the mushrooms, garlic and shallot in a tablespoon of butter, pushed it aside to scramble two eggs, added the cauliflower and about a cup of stir fry veggies and mixed it all together.

FullSizeRender 3

This was not the most technical of recipes. Who needs that on a Tuesday?

To season I added some tamari, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne. (Ok and a few other random spices, see below).

Oh, and a chicken leg. Because I had them. But this would truly stand on its own as dinner!

IMG_2211FullSizeRender 4

For two servings, it’s about 225 calories a plate. Pretty guilt free for something that I’d be psyched to dive in to after closing time on a Saturday.


  • 1/2 Large Head of Cauliflower
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Medium Portobello Mushroom
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Cup Stir Fry Veggies (mine included show peas, carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts)
  • 2 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Celery Salt, Coriander, Parsley, Cayenne, and Paprika, to personal taste


  • Chop cauliflower, garlic, shallot, and mushrooms
  • Sautee garlic and shallot in butter
  • Push aside and scramble two eggs, push aside in the pan
  • Add cauliflower and veggies, cover and steam for 5 minutes
  • Mix all together with tamarin, vinegar, salt, pepper, and personal taste seasonings


With some meat too, if you like.





Homemade Mayonnaise

One of the fun/terrible things about Whole30 is reading labels and discovering just how much unnecessary crap is lingering in what seems to be “safe” food. Mayo is one item I was told ‘should’ meet Whole30/Paleo criteria – afterall, isn’t it just egg yolk, oil, salt, and lemon juice?

No. No, it is not.

At least, not if you buy it off the shelf. Those that are shelf stable come with a whole host of other ingredients, many of which I cannot pronounce. Among these? Sugar. Or even more fun? High fructose corn syrup. Why? I don’t get it. It’s stupid. If you like sugar, go eat that weird Miracle Whip nonsense. Stay out of my tangy mayo.

Since I already had to abandon sour cream and greek yogurt until March, it didn’t take much to motivate me to hit the google machine and decide I could do this on my own.

The results? Unbelievable.

Why have I been buying this? I can say with certainty I never will again.*


*I’ll probably buy it again because I’m lazy. I undoubtedly will regret it the minute I do.


  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 4 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt (add more to taste)
  • 2 1/4c Canola Oil

In a food processor or blender (I hear it works best in a  jar with an immersion blender if you’re blessed with such a gadget) place your egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.  Blend a few pulses until well incorporated.

SLOWLY, about a tablespoon at a time, add your oil, pulsing a few second for incorporation each time.  Watch closely as it shouldn’t take long before a thick emulsion forms.

Keep adding oil, a bit at a time (you can increase the amount between blends as the texture dictates) until you reach your desired consistency.

I like it nice and thick and creamy. IMG_6613

It was.

A few notes.

OIL: Olive oil, or any shelf-liquid oil should work, but keep taste in mind. My first attempt with EVOO had a VERY strong taste. Not bad, but not classic either. I’ve heard avocado oil works awesome.

If it won’t thicken. Don’t cry or curse, you can save this. Dump your runny mixture into a jar, add two more egg yolks to the blender with a dash of lemon and salt, and start the emulsion process again, this time using your first attempt to incorporate like the oil. It works. And you don’t have to waste any product. IMG_6608

Put this in your fridge and revel in your awesome DIY home chef brilliance. Add some chipotle paste. Make caesar dressing. I’m sorry, I’m getting bossy.




Whole30 Week 1

It’s day 8 and I think I’m over the emotional hump of all of these changes. I still want a glass of wine at night or a bowl of rice, but I’m feeling beyond the absolute lamentation that they’re “off limits”.

Perhaps one of the best parts of this experiment is that it really forces a thoughtfulness about what I’m eating and putting into my food and as a result, I’ve broken out of some of the lunch or dinner ruts I had been in.  Or, conversely found myself happily entrenched in some others (like breakfast – if you follow my Instagram you’ll know the egg and avocado habit is real).

Rather than day by day, I’ll give you a meal by meal of what I’ve been eating this week:


  • Poach eggs with avocado (seriously. every. single. day.)image3

Lunch and Dinner:

  • Salmon (sous vide with ghee) with pan fried kale
  • Roasted Carrots and Onions
  • Pulled Chicken in coconut milk with tomatillo, chiles, cilantro, and lime
  • Steaks with roasted red potatoes
  • Roasted Chicken Thighs with Frank’s Red Hot
  • Whole Foods Italian Chicken Sausages with Peppers, Onions, and poached eggs
  • Tom Kha soup (recipe to follow)image4


  • Eggs: Boiled, Poached, Fried
  • LOTS of fruit: Berries, mango, bananas, apples
  • Plantain Chips
  • Pistachios in shell (take longer to eat)


  • Perrier and other sparkling water
  • Coffee, black and with cashew milk
  • Tea of all types
  • Lemon Water

I survived a baby shower for ShareABitOfLove without any food cheats (and man was it a fun day!). I did stray on the alcohol rule for one super salted champagne flute of ruby red margarita and I can’t say I’m a bit sorry.  I also felt satisfied after one and moved back to my Perrier and coffee. We made all kinds of treats – deviled eggs (with my homemade mayo! I’ll post that later this week), bread free turkey meatball sliders, berry salads; it was delightful. IMG_1957 image1

I’m headed back to Boston tomorrow, so I have one more day of farm fresh eggs and I plan to eat as many as possible.  It’s Super Bowl Sunday. I have no doubt food will be a challenge but I’m determined. image2

If I have a sip or two of tequila, I apologize in advance.

A Whole30 February

If you might have noticed, and as I drew attention to earlier this month, 2015 was not a great blogging year for me, or if I’m being honest, particularly good in general as it pertained to food, fitness, creativity or any of the other snippets of Ginger I generally share around here.  The calendar was jam-packed with events and my health wasn’t the greatest. I was hit by a car in April that I’m still fighting to bounce back from, dealt with a broken toe (a surprisingly disruptive injury!) in August, and a kidney infection in October. Fun.

TMI? Complaining? Maybe a little, but what’s a blog if not a little personal? Ups and downs are real. The point is pulling your shit together once you realize that it’s happening. As ShareABitOfLove told me recently: gangst rap

The last year saw a dramatic decrease in my dedication to exercise and a moderate increase in my wine consumption (let’s be honest, the wine devotion always ran deep). I believe in balance but right now the scale is about ready to stop using numbers and just give me the middle finger. My sleep is off (even more than usual). And I just don’t have the right energy at the gym that goes beyond the existing injuries.

So. Time to reset.

I read about the Whole30 via recipes hunts, as the plan is inherently gluten free. Then, I read along at this exact time last year when one of my local blogger favorites Christina at Hungry Meets Healthy took on the challenge and I totally identified with her champagne withdrawals. I like the idea of the “diet” because it’s not really a diet at all. There’s a lot of science behind the nutrition and while it seems initially restrictive, it doesn’t cut major macro groups or foods long term. Rather it restricts a few groups short term to reset your body and digestion. At the end of 30 days you slowly reintroduce each group as a control to discover what fuels your particular biology best. EatWhole30-Instagram

Yes: All meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables (including starches like potatoes), fruit, most fat (oil, ghee), even coffee!

No: WINEEEE… Grains (including the pseudo grains like quinoa and amaranth), corn, legumes (including everything soy based), alcohol of any sort, added sugar, and dairy. cry wine

I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time, but the idea of no wine and no cheese seemed insurmountable. What seems even harder right now is making it through the treadmill portion of a Barry’s class. I’ve reach my “get your shit” together come-to-Jesus moment (and so have my pants).

I began reading the book It Starts With Food, and had a ‘practice’ week last week where I obsessively read labels, slowly getting my head around what the 30 day menu would look like, getting the remaining dairy out of my face, and yes, savoring a few glasses of wine. I’ve had several label surprises. Have you ever tried to find sugar free bacon? Or did you know there is soy lecithin in Sambazon Acai puree? (And I thought that would be my superfood breakfast.) Some of the additives it tells you to avoid are going to be a pain. (But, I think discovering where they hide is kind of the point.)

I’ll give a weekly rundown of what I ate and how I’m feeling. You can have the numbers at the end.

Have you done the Whole30? Any recipes? Thoughts? Is there a paleo version of wine nobody told me about?

Sous Vide Scallops

I’m a sucker for a gadget, but I haven’t been this excited for a kitchen appliance since my Vitamix arrived. I first learned what sous vide cooking was from Top Chef and have been obsessed with the idea of the technique ever since.

My parents gifted me with the Gourmet Digital Sous Vide Pod Immersion Circulator Precision Cooker and I obviously couldn’t wait to start playing around with it.  I’ve spent most my time on to get ideas on temps and technique.


I started with scallops. Quick. Simple (allegedly). I coated it with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic after giving them a quick rinse, and followed the directions for getting them airtight in a plastic bag. With a sous vide set to 51 C I was ready to cook.

By cook I mean set my alarm for 30 minutes and walk away.

Once they were cooked, I heated some butter to brown and dried the scallops from the bit of liquid that cooked out so they would take a quick sear.

About 30 seconds each side and they were good to go.

Ok almost. Bacon.  I mean it’s Christmas, we aren’t animals. I wasn’t sure about attempting bacon wrapped since the majority of the cooking would be done, so getting the bacon crisp would be an issue. Turns out? I like this even better. The bacon to scallop ratio can be custom tailored as you eat.


So here’s your recipe. The hardest part is admitting you must buy this amazing gadget, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

Sous Vide Scallops

  • 2lbs Scallops
  • 2 Tbs Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1/2 lb Bacon, cooked, cooked and crumbled
  1. Set Sous Vide mechanism in water bath to 51* C
  2. Rise and drain scallops. Coat with olive oil, garlic, pepper, and salt
  3. Contain scallops to a waterproof plastic bag and place in water bath for 30 minutes
  4. While scallops cook, cook bacon and crumble
  5. When scallops are cooked, be sure to dry on paper towels before searing to get the best crust
  6. Melt butter on medium high until slightly brown
  7. Sear scallops 30 seconds each side
  8. Top with bacon