Kale Coconut Salad

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When you move to California (having never even visited before), you falsely feel like you have some sense of the place.  TV and movies promise palm trees, sunshine, and surfers.  While I knew I was moving to Northern California and not San Diego, I was still surprised our first morning here (in August no less), that I needed to pull on a sweatshirt to go search out a local coffee shop.  I always find myself explaining to friends and relatives back home that my part of California is usually always 67 degrees.  Even in August.  Even in November. So this … Continue reading

Comfort Food: Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

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I had a whole recipe in mind for you with a creative twist on mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes with whole grain mustard and thyme, paired with marinated mushrooms.  I suspect I’ll still make that dish, but as I was thinking about it, I got a phone call.  While everyone in my life is fine, the phone call threw me off my axis.  With my whole world off-kilter, I no longer felt up for the adventurous new recipe, and I needed an old comfortable standby in my kitchen instead.  When I was in Boston over Christmas, my father gave me my … Continue reading

Kale and White Bean Soup

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It’s hard to cook in an unfamiliar kitchen. Lacking your usual tools, the familiar measuring cups or your trusty cutting board, an old standby dish suddenly becomes a new kind of challenge. My grandmother has managed for years to feed the whole hoard of us Christmas dinner from a kitchen with 12 square inches of counter space, a cutting board the size of my hand and a single knife that hasn’t been sharpened since before World War II. Lacking what are clearly her MacGyver skills, I resort to tearing ingredients with my hand or smashing them when faced with a … Continue reading

Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Blue Cheese

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We are strongly attached to our traditions in my family, especially traditions that are associated with food.  We’ve been eating approximately the same Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember.  We’ve added dishes over the years, but nothing can be subtracted.  I can only imagine the mutiny that would ensue if we tried to mess with the mashed potatoes at our house. Mashed potatoes are a particular specialty of ours.  We always fight for the leftovers, but somehow mashed potatoes almost never make it past the first round of leftovers.  They are nothing fancy, just potatoes mashed … Continue reading

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese with Zucchini and Kale

cauliflower_cheddar_kale_ingredients

Pasta the night before a race is a tradition for me.  I know it’s a tradition for everyone, but I really look forward to the pasta the evening before a race.  Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorites.  My grandfather made an incredible macaroni and cheese with pounds of cheddar and stewed tomatoes and bread crumbs.  He made it most every time we visited.  It was incredible, but did I mention the pounds of cheddar?  Not super race friendly.  I’d seen Mark Bittman’s recipe for cauliflower macaroni and cheese all over the web recently, including on the Runners World … Continue reading

When You are Craving Veggies…

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We’ve had a lot of wonderful visitors over the last few months.  It’s funny how people are more excited to visit us in California than they were to visit us back when we lived in Baltimore.  Having visitors tends to correspond with a lot of eating out.  Sharing favorite restaurants is just part of the tour for visitors, as far as I’m concerned.  (Hey, I’ve dragged all of our visitors to our grocery store too.  I’m special like that).  Even though I know just as well as the next person that you can pick the healthy option when dining out, … Continue reading

An Ode to Kale

kale salad with diced apple and extra sharp cheddar

Did kale recently become trendy? I have no recollection of kale from childhood. Of course, my mom got us to eat vegetables by hiding them in cake (the chocolate and zucchini combination is perennially smart and sneaky), so it’s perhaps unsurprising that kale and I were unacquainted. Still, lately kale parades about as the new celebrity vegetable, getting prime space in the grocery store, and even magazine glamour shots. For the last year or so I’ve been buying all the kale hype, eating it up if you will (or won’t. I understand). I introduced myself to kale by finally climbing … Continue reading