De Ma Cuisine



May 2015



Customizable Panzanella Salad

Written by , Posted in Beans, Beef, Bread, Cheese, Condiments, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Eggs, Fish, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grains, Herbs, Legumes, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Nuts, Pork, Poultry, Quick and Easy, Quinoa, Salads, Sides, Toasting, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


There are so many things that this salad can be. It can be vegan, paleo, low-carb, gluten-free, high-protein… It all depends on what you add to it.


I made some baguettes a few weeks ago that I wasn’t thrilled with. They’re prefect for croutons though. If you prefer to avoid bread, quinoa or tofu would be great bread replacers. Or, if you’re eating gluten-free, your best gluten-free bread will be just perfect.


To make up the bulk of this salad, I opened this week’s Abundant Harvest Organics box then pulled a few things from the produce drawer. But this is where there are so many ways you can make this salad your own.

Beyond tons of veggie options, here are a few ways you could adapt this dish:

Protein a Plenty: Add beans, quinoa (instead of or alongside the bread), tofu, hard boiled eggs, meat (tuna, beef, chicken, turkey, pork), nuts, cheese.

Paleo: Add eggs, meat, and nuts instead of the bread.

Vegan: Leave as is, or add quinoa or tofu.

Gluten-Free: Use your favorite gluten-free bread, or swap out the bread for quinoa.

All the Veggies: I used nopales, onion, carrot, green beans, radish, and summer squash. You could also add: snap peas, greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, eggplant, cucumber… or any other veggies that are in season and you think would taste great.


I love the combination of a really good quality olive oil like Bari’s along with balsamic vinegar. But, a mixture of red wine vinegar and lemon juice, or balsamic and lemon juice would also be great. Customize it to make it your own!


Riiiiiight before serving add the bread. Or to really avoid soggy bread, put the bread on the plate and top it with salad, letting the dressing soak in slowly. The lesson I learned today: only add as much bread as you’re going to eat. The leftovers will get way soggy (#freetofail).


This is one of my favorite ways to welcome summer. But, come fall or winter, just trade the summer veggies for some roasted winter ones and you’ve got a winner all year round.

Happy Eating!

Customizable Panzanella Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Customizable Panzanella Salad


  • 3-4 C stale bread (any kind - or could sub 2-3 C quinoa or tofu), cubed
  • 1 t olive oil
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C balsamic or red wine vinegar (or half vinegar half lemon juice)*
  • 1 1/2 t dijon mustard
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2 T to 1/4 C olive oil*
  • 3-4 T fresh herbs (basil, parsley, chives, oregano, thyme), chopped
  • 4-6 C any of the following (cubed, chopped, grated, or torn): summer squash, nopales, snap peas, green beans, greens, radishes, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, eggplant, cucumbers, red onions, nuts, hard boiled eggs, nuts, chicken, beef, tuna, pork, mozzarella, parmesan, cannellini beans, garbonzo beans)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Toss bread with 1 t olive oil, salt, and pepper, Place on a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for about 5 minutes more (or until they're golden and toasty).
  2. Whisk balsamic vinegar through pepper. Stream in oil as you whisk. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  3. Toss salad contents (except bread, if using quinoa or tofu, add it now) with dressing. Add bread just before serving.



May 2015



How to Use All That Summer Squash

Written by , Posted in How To, Thoughts


I love summer squash. Last summer I felt like I couldn’t get enough. So this year I planted some in my garden to supplement when I needed more. Turns out that I’m growing acorn squash. Either I planted the wrong seeds, or more likely, I pulled out the wrong volunteer plants that had grown from the compost. Ah well, at least it’s fun. And I’ve learned from my squash failure, so that’s a good thing. #freetofailSummerSquash-3

I know that not everyone is as crazy about summer squash as I am. And, for some, the season is long. You may start out loving it, super excited about the possibilities, and then run out of steam come July.


So here’s some help. Some of my favorite ways to use one of my favorite summer veggies.



One of my favorite things to do with just about every single vegetable, no matter the season, is to roast them. The other night for dinner I roasted a sliced squash, some sliced potatoes, and green beans. It was simple. I tossed them all with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne, then spread them out on a baking sheet, and roasted at 400F for about 15 minutes for the squash and beans, 20-25 for the potatoes. Divine!

If you wanted to, you could dip them in the dip I use for Roasted Parsnips. You can slice them into rounds, or into sticks. Baking time will depend on how thick they are. If they’re too thin, just watch them carefully so they don’t burn. If you’re too lazy to roast them, or if it’s just too hot to turn on the oven, slice up the squash and dip it anyways. Who says they have to be cooked to be good?!

I also like them roasted and stuffed. I call them Zoo Boats. A couple of years ago I made them on A Cooking Show with Rachel O. They’re easy and delicious.

Baking – Sweets


Since their flavor is pretty mild, summer squash can easily be added to baked goods. The other week I made some cookies using parsnips and apples. I think summer squash (or summer squash and carrots) would be a great substitute for either or both. My mom used to add zucchini to a bread similar to banana bread. She called it “Zoo Bread”. We had no idea what was in there (or it tasted so good that we didn’t care).

For Breakfast


One of my favorite things to eat during the summer is squash with some sort of eggs. Squash could be sautéed in some olive oil, with salt, pepper, and cayenne, then scooched over to the size of the skillet so an egg or two can be fried. Serve that with some whole wheat zucchini cookies and you’ve got an easy breakfast.

I also love to quickly cook some squash, add a bit of cheese (so it can get a bit crispy), then scramble some eggs. Everything can be eaten as is, or wrapped with a tortilla and topped with salsa or Nopales Relish. Whether it’s Breakfast Burritos or Squash and Scrambled Egg Wraps, it’s a winner in my book.

Make a Salad


Salads are great vessels for all the yummy things. They’re no longer boring, just to be eaten as an afterthought. I know that not everyone considers a salad a full meal. If you need something else to go along with it, that’s absolutely acceptable. But, if you’re ok with a hearty salad, why not add some grated, sliced, or chopped summer squash to it?!

Tim especially likes it when Taco Salad is the salad that’s the meal. It’s hearty and full of goodies. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter – on its own, or to go along with some grilled delights, I love a Simple Summer Salad. It’s one of those salads that is perfect for whatever’s currently in season.

If you’re in the mood for a picnic, a Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad is perfectly hearty and filling, and of course, has summer squash in it.

Add It To Everything!


Making pasta for dinner? Add some summer squash to the onions and garlic. Grated or chopped, it doesn’t matter.

How about Tacos? Beef and Bean Enchiladas? Vegetarian EnchiladasTaco Soup? I add squash to all of them, pretty much every time.

In Stir Fry, squash can replace or be added alongside carrots, green beans, and snap peas. It can be added to Vegan Tofu Fried Quinoa. It can be sweet and spicy with lemongrass. It could be the star, not just a supporting taste, if it’s all that you have on hand.

It can be chopped and added to Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd’s Pie.

It’s one of the main components of Fish Wellingtons.

It can even be added to pizza!


I hope that will get you through the season. And hey, if worst comes to worst, and you’ve still got too much squash on your hands bake some zucchini cookies and take them to your neighbors. Make a big pot of Taco Soup and invite everyone you know. Or slice them and toss ’em on the grill, alongside some eggplant, onions, and bell peppers, and serve them at a block party.

Happy Eating!



May 2015



Roasted Stone Fruit with Bulgur and Fennel

Written by , Posted in Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fruit, Grains, Main Dishes, Nuts, Quick and Easy, Quinoa, Rice, Roasting, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


Complain as I will about summer – the heat, the heat, the heat, I love the fruits and veggies that it brings. I’m silly for squash (more about that next week), crazy for cherries, and wacko for watermelon. Not to mention sweet corn… be still my heart. And oh the stone fruit… Standing over the sink, eating the most perfectly ripe peach, juice dripping down my arms. That’s just heavenly.

Try as I might, stone fruit doesn’t last long in our home. It’s just too easy to grab one, give it a quick scrub, and have a delicious snack. So in order to have any left for this savory take, I had to make it as soon as the box got home.


This week it was nectarines in our Abundant Harvest Organics box, but apricots, apriums, or peaches would work great too. I sliced them about 1/4″ thick, tossed them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for a few minutes.


While the nectarines hung out in the oven, I sautéed some onions and fennel. A few minutes later I added the bulgur wheat and let it get a bit toasty before I added some veggie stock. If you wanted to keep this dish gluten-free, quinoa, brown rice, or barley would be great instead of the bulgur wheat.


Once the fruit was roasted, flipped once, and roasted for a bit longer, it joined the party in the bulgur pan.


Added to it was some saffron, cayenne, and ginger.


Top it with a little lemon juice, some chopped nuts, and you’ve got dinner.

It’s great on its own, but would be fabulous served with some crispy fried tofu, or a roasted chicken, along with a salad of arugula, red onions, sliced stone fruit, and chopped nuts.

Happy Eating!

Roasted Stone Fruit with Bulgur and Fennel

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2-3 as a main dish, 3-4 as a side dish

Roasted Stone Fruit with Bulgur and Fennel


  • 2 C firm stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, apriums, or peaches), sliced 1/4" thick
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 C onion, chopped
  • 1/3 C fennel, chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 C bulgur wheat (or quinoa, brown rice, or barley)
  • 2 C vegetable stock (or water)
  • pinch saffron (optional)
  • pinch ginger
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 T plus 2 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 C nuts (almonds or pistachios), roughly chopped


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss stone fruit with salt, pepper, and 1 t olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 7 minutes, flip, then about 7-8 minutes more (or until fruit is lightly browned).
  3. While fruit cooks, heat a medium sized sauce pan over medium or medium-low heat. Add 1 T olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bulgur and cook for 1 minute more. Add stock, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 7-8 minutes (or until bulgur is cooked).
  4. Add stone fruit through lemon juice to bulgur mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool for about 10 minutes, then serve topped with nuts.



May 2015



Veggie and Garbonzo Bean Shakshuka

Written by , Posted in Beans, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Eggs, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, One Dish Dinners, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian


If there’s not a carton of eggs in my refrigerator, I feel a little lost when it comes to meal planning. I use eggs for all of the regular things, like adding them to pancakes, using them in an egg wash for a Chicken Pot Pie or Fish Wellingtons, or whisking them into a silky mayonnaise. But, I also count on them as a staple for our meals.

Fried eggs are one of my favorite foods. I love it when the yolk is still runny (I’m an “over-medium” order) and it spills over the food it’s covering, creating a creamy sauce. They’ve created a way for me to love some foods that I didn’t think I even liked (turnips!). Eggs for the win!


One of the meals I’ve discovered over the past year or so is called Shakshuka. I love it because it feels like an old world dish, similar to peasant food. It’s simple and straightforward, but also super versatile.

You can make it with just tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil. But, if you want to add more to it, you can add tons of veggies. This time I wanted to pack it with a little extra oomph. I added greens, fennel, and asparagus to the usual. And then, garbonzo beans. It’s a dish that’s loaded with nutrients, protein, and great flavor.

I could eat it everyday.


The veggies and beans don’t need to cook for too long – a little under 20 minutes will do. They just kinda stew there in the olive oil, getting all soft, flavors combining… man I’m hungry!


And then the eggs are added. Normally, when I fry eggs, I do it in a screaming hot cast iron. But, since there are other components in the pan, for this dish, I turn the heat down, add the eggs, and cover (so the whites will set).


Eggs, veggies, beans, cast iron… be quiet my grumbling stomach!


And if you thought things couldn’t get any better, it gets topped with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Happy Eating!

Veggie and Garbonzo Bean Shakshuka

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 24 minutes

Total Time: 34 minutes

Yield: 2-4

Veggie and Garbonzo Bean Shakshuka


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or leek, chopped
  • 1 C assorted veggies (like fennel, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms), chopped
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 C tomatoes (fresh or canned), diced
  • 1 C garbonzo beans
  • 2 C greens (chard, kale, collards, spinach etc...), roughly chopped
  • 1-2 eggs/serving
  • to taste salt
  • fresh herbs (dill, parsley, chives, basil), chopped, for serving
  • lemon slices, for serving


  1. Heat skillet then add oil. When oil is hot, add onion through pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic through greens and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and make a small well for each egg. Add eggs, one per well. Season with salt. Cook covered until eggs are done (about 3-6 minutes, depending on how runny you like the yolk).
  4. Serve topped with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon.



May 2015



My Healthy Eating Journey

Written by , Posted in How To, Thoughts


It’s always exciting when someone wants to talk about beginning a healthy eating journey. I love to talk about food, eating well, and how to best accomplish it. So when friends ask, I’m ready, so ready to share what I’ve learned over the years.

I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not here to tell you what to do. But, I do want to share some of what’s working for me, on my journey. Take what I’ve written with a grain of salt as this post is based on my experiences. Your journey and body are unique. Your tastes and preferences too. The way that we eat and enjoy food is based on our little family and what we enjoy and deem important.


I grew up in a home where whole wheat bread, whole foods, and plenty of fruits and veggies were consumed. Dessert, if we wanted any, was usually fruit. This way of living was instilled in me at a young age. I didn’t necessarily keep to them throughout my teen years (when it was up to me). But, in my early 20’s I started to come back around, to see the value in caring about what I was eating.

Food, for me, is to be enjoyed. It’s a requirement for life, but is also something that brings me great joy. It’s my art, my passion, what I love to do. But the art isn’t just in the paring of foods, the sound of fresh baguettes crackling as they cool, or the plating of a dish. It’s in the marriage of nutrients and taste. Eating well takes great skill.AHO-Box

I feel like we have it a bit easier, since we have access to the amazing produce from Abundant Harvest Organics. But, there are options out there no matter where you live. From a CSA to farmers’ markets, to planting your own garden… local produce from the grocery store works too. There are lots of ways to get in the groove of healthy eating.


Here are some things that I’ve learned from experience.

  1. It took some time, but eventually I stopped craving the junk and started craving the good stuff. I can’t remember the last time I had a craving for Doritos. But roasted veggies, all the time! Also, I try not to focus on what I can’t have, but rather on what I can. Of course I’m going to crave junk if there’s nothing else available.
  2. When there are cravings, I’m trying to be better at listening to my body. In other words: if I’m craving french fries, maybe it’s because I’m actually in need of good fats. A good alternative when this is the case would be a good fats salad with tuna, hard boiled eggs, nuts, avocado, and cheese, topped with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. (P.S. Fats are not my enemy!)
  3. Fill up with nutrient dense foods, even at snack time. A handful of almonds and an apple would be my preference over a handful of empty calorie cheesy crackers.
  4. Whole foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, colorful fruits and veggies, good fats/oils (olive and coconut), and eggs are staples in our home. They’re full of nutrients and taste great!
  5. I’m wary of foods with diet claims. They tend to be loaded with sugar, salt, and other things to make them taste good, to compensate for what’s been removed.
  6. I don’t keep myself from ever eating anything unhealthy. That method doesn’t work for me. If all junk food is cut out of my life then I’m more likely to binge on it (and feel guilty about it afterwards). I think that whole foods, real foods, are a much better option. But, there’s a place for treats. The key is that they’re treats, not the norm. We don’t eat In-n-Out for every meal, but we do eat it once every week or two. I love salt and vinegar potato chips. Always have. We buy them every month or so, but I know better than to keep them on hand all the time.
  7. I’ve learned how to make some of my favorite treats at home, so I control what goes into them. And when I don’t make them from scratch, I read the label so I know what we’re eating. I like to keep to foods that have ingredients that I can pronounce (or know what they are if they’re tough to say). I prefer it when packaged foods have as few ingredients as possible.
  8. Just because a food is marked “organic” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. A store bought, factory made cookie might have organic ingredients, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for me.


I think it’s important to make eating fun. We can feed ourselves out of necessity. Somedays that’s all I can come up with – food, just because we need nourishment. But, whenever possible, I find it best to enjoy the process.

  1. One of the things that I’ve thought would be fun is to plan something fun for each day. For example, Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Breakfast Wednesdays, International Thursdays, Pizza Fridays, Simple Saturdays, and Snacky Sundays… We don’t do this, mostly because of my job, but even doing one or two of them could be fun (Taco Tuesdays and Pizza Fridays would be a hit at our house for sure!).
  2. To make eating well possible, a menu plan is essential for me. I wrote a three part series about it, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But, basically, I like to plan a menu that will work with our schedule, tastes, and desires. I try to plan foods that are manageable for the cooks in our home (mainly me, but sometimes Tim takes a turn). I also have some go-to meals that can be made when the day hasn’t gone as planned. It keeps me from jumping to unhealthy alternatives. Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches are one. Seriously. Protein from the nuts, homemade jam, whole wheat bread, fruit on the side… I’d much rather eat this than something out of a box.
  3. I like to have a few meals on hand in the freezer. Soups work especially well for last minute meals straight out of the freezer. If it’s not a last minute change, frozen foods can defrost in the fridge overnight and be reheated the day of. It’s a great way to use leftovers too. We also eat leftovers for lunch, be it at work or at home. Sometimes they are repurposed and made into a new meal, but we also enjoy them a second time just as they are.
  4. And last, but not least, if there’s not going to be time during the work week for meal prep, if possible, it can be good to take a couple of hours and do it when there is time. Simple things like chopping veggies can make a simple weeknight Stir Fry even quicker, thus more likely to stay on the menu.

Happy Eating!

And I really mean it. There’s joy to be found in food.

(Written while snacking on 3 apriums, 1 banana dipped in crunchy peanut butter, and 1 homemade pain au chocolat.)