Coconut Mango Muffins

Coconut Mango Muffins

Muffins have such a special place in my heart. Growing up, my family ate muffins for breakfast nearly every day and it was awesome. My sister and I would *think* we wanted the colorful cereals that the other kids had. We’d beg my mom to buy them and when she would, they’d end up going stale on the top shelf in the pantry. Nothing beat a warm muffin and a big glass of milk first thing in the morning. Of course, I’ve since nixed the milk part, but my love for muffins continues.

These muffins, made with Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk, are my new favorite morning treat.

Coconut Mango Muffins

Now, these are not your giant bakery muffins – huge and over the top – these are the lightly sweet, small, everyday sort of muffins. They’re studded with chopped mango and topped with toasted coconut flakes. The lime juice helps them rise and a mixture of flax binds them together – although these can also be made with an egg if you do not have flax, see the recipe below.

Almond Breeze Almondmilk is my go-to nondairy milk for baking, but the Almond Coconut Blend works especially well here to enhance the light coconut flavor.

Coconut Mango Muffins

These are best right out of the oven but they also freeze well! Store them in an airtight bag in the freezer for up to a month. Pop them in the microwave for 20 or so seconds for a warm muffin-y breakfast or snack.

Coconut Mango Muffins

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

I’ve talked about this over and over on here, but one of my favorite ways to incorporate fresh produce into my meals is through my local Texas CSA delivery that I get bi-weekly. The fruits and vegetables are grown from local farms and when my “bushel” arrives, the contents are always a surprise! There’s no better way in my opinion to eat hyper local than by signing up for a local CSA box – and they can be found all over the country. BUT – I’ll be honest – sometimes it can be a bit daunting. Finding ways to eat and store the vegetables before they go bad is something that stresses me out a little. Knowing that someone near me carefully grew and picked that lettuce or those beets makes me feel responsible for treating them well.

Today I’m partnering with Sub Zero on their Fresh Food Matters initiative to share tips about how to eat more real, fresh food. These days there’s an overwhelming amount of information when it comes to what we should and shouldn’t eat, but I think everyone can agree that fresh, whole foods are central to health, culture, community, and the environment. The goal for today is to share a few simple tips about how I utilize the fresh food in my CSA delivery.

Pictured above is the box I received a few weeks ago. I have to say – this one was a beaut. Soft butter lettuce, fresh blueberries, radishes, carrots, kale, and the biggest beet I’ve ever seen. Buried under those things was a fennel bulb, a pile of zucchini, and summer squash.

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

Here’s how I approached this box, and how I generally approach every box:

1. Sample. Try out the merchandise so you really know what you’re working with. Look at those blueberries! These were the first of the season, so I ate most of those before I could put them away.

2. Sort & Store. Sort everything into bags and store (most things) in the fridge while you figure out what to make. Cut the tops off of carrots and beets and store them all separately so that each piece of the vegetable will last longer. I store sweet potatoes and winter squash on the countertop, but most spring produce does best in the fridge.

Right now, I re-use the grocery store produce bags but I really want to try out a more sustainable solution. Vegetables from the farm can often be really dirty, so mesh or cloth bags aren’t going to be my solution – if you have a suggestion, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Also, contrary to what most people say, I don’t like to wash my produce right when I get it. I find that it lasts longer if it is protected by its dirt. Once it’s washed, veggies start to get soft and limp faster.

3. Plan & Brainstorm. Make a list of the contents of the box and start brainstorming what to make. It’s easy to forget what came once it’s stowed away in the fridge, so I like to sort this out on paper. My general rule of thumb is to start thinking about the softer vegetables first (lettuce, greens) and worry about the sturdier vegetables (beets, radishes), second. If you need help deciding what to make, browse our recipe index “by ingredient,” and that will help get you started.

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad 4. Chill Out. If you’re overwhelmed by certain ingredients, it’s ok to freeze them for later. I’ve been eating a lot of kale salads lately, so this time I froze the kale for my morning smoothies throughout the week.

5. Prep, cook and eat. Make some food! Here’s how I used the various ingredients in this bunch:

– Kale: this time, since I had so many vegetables in this box, I froze the kale for my morning smoothies along with some of the leftover blueberries. (More kale recipes here).

– Zucchini and yellow squash: I made a dish similar to this recipe – I tossed thin slices of zucchini and yellow squash with pesto and lots of lemon. Here are some other ideas: a knockout Summer Squash Tian, a One Pot Pasta, or Zoodles!

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

– Beets: I just made a simple beet hummus that I used throughout the week for sandwiches and snacks.

– Fennel: I thinly sliced it and baked it on top of cheesy flatbread with the remainder of the blueberries.

– Lettuce, carrots and radishes: I made a big tangy Farmhouse Spring Salad that I brought to Jack’s family’s Sunday dinner. (Scroll down for the recipe).

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

Jack’s mom loves radishes so I sliced the radishes and carrots really thin. I then tossed them in a simple dressing with some pickled onions and let them soften while I washed and dried the butterhead lettuce. I tossed it all together with pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese. It was a great, crunchy, light side salad.

CSA Box Strategies + a Farmhouse Salad

Do you get a CSA box? What are your tips?

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

I’m so behind with the trends. Do you know that avocado toast has become avocado “toast” with quotation marks? People are using sweet potatoes as the “bread” and the first time I saw that oh-so-clickable headline I thought it was ridiculous.

One morning though, desperate times called for desperate measures. I had no breakfast food – just a sweet potato, an avocado, and some almond butter. I don’t really ever skip breakfast, so I roasted sweet potato rounds and topped half with the almond butter and half with the avocado. Jack walked in, I said “look, ‘toast’ ” (with air quotes) and he looked at my like I was crazy, but we both gobbled it up.

This definitely was good, but still wasn’t toast. Nonetheless, I got inspired to use sweet potatoes like this, so I used that little impromptu breakfast as my inspiration for this tartare on sweet potato not-toast.

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

This recipe is more of an appetizer or a tasty light lunch.

I mixed up the avocado with ingredients that would be in tuna tartare – sesame oil, a little dijon mustard and sesame seeds. There’s diced red onion for a little crunch and lemon juice to brighten it all up.

I topped my sweet potato rounds with little pieces of watermelon radish but that step is completely optional, I just think it’s pretty and the crunch is nice.

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

As you know, the Kentucky Derby® is right around the corner (did you see last week’s Sparkling Mint Juleps?). Today I’m partnering with 14 Hands Wine to share some Derby Day party tips, recipes, and a few great wine pairings. It’s time break out your fancy hats, pour some wine and get started!

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

First up are these colorful open-faced (crust off!) tea sandwiches. These are super easy to make if you make the spread ahead of time and assemble these just before your guests arrive. Instead of a cream cheese spread I made an herbal creamy dill spread by blending sunflower seeds to create a creamy base. Slather it on some sourdough sandwich bread and then top with rows of paper thin slices of cucumbers, radishes, and candy striped beets. Use a sharp knife to cut the crusts off and you have the cutest little springtime snacks. (See the full recipe below in this post).

This recipe pairs especially well with 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc – it’s citrus-y aromas and its crisp flavors of grapefruit and guava are a lovely compliment to these spring vegetable bites. Sometimes I find Sauvignon Blanc to be a little too sharp, but I love this one because it’s light, mellow, and juicy.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

My husband Jack has more southern roots than I do, so when I asked him what to put on my Derby Day menu he didn’t hesitate before blurting out “Pimento cheese!” What can I say, the guy loves cheese. Since we’re going for a lighter, brighter theme here, I made my version vegan and Jack, my cheese lover, is obsessed. Ok, that’s a lie – we’re both so obsessed that we sat down and ate it for dinner one night while I was testing it. Like, that was the whole dinner – crackers and “cheese”. And wine.

Cashews give this spread a creamy base while jarred pimentos, dijon mustard, and lots of lemon give it a proper tang. It’s best with Ritz-like crackers, but I also like to serve it with tons of chopped up veggies as well. This is another recipe you can make in advance, but just try not to eat it all before your guests show up.

This recipe is also a wonderful pairing with the crisp flavor of the 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

And now for dessert! To be honest, I don’t always love wine and chocolate as a pairing, but when we tasted 14 Hands Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend, the subtle hints of cocoa and caramel really stood out to me. That’s when I decided I needed to finish this menu with wine, chocolate, and pecans. In lieu of pecan pie, I made chocolate pecan truffles. The base of these truffles is made by blending pecan and dates before they get dipped in chocolate. The opulent red blend with aromas of blackberries and plums is a bold pairing with this sweet treat.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Just to recap, here are my top 5 tips to have a great Kentucky Derby viewing party:

1. Make a fancy Mint Julep – check out the Sparkling Mint Juleps I posted last week.

2. Go for pretty vegetable-forward dishes – they’re perfect for a spring menu and work well with the juicy flesh flavors of the wine. Plus, they’re so pretty and festive!

3. Make food that you can prepare ahead of time and easily assemble before guests arrive.

4. Be sure to have plenty of wine! 14 Hands is the preferred wine of the Derby, so taste and create your own wine pairings with the Kentucky Derby Limited Release Red Blend−perfect for any Derby party, and the new Rosé. 

5. Tune in to Facebook Live on Thursday, April 27th at 2pm CST to watch me demo these recipes and set up a simple party table that you can recreate for your own Derby gathering. 

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

Have you tried sweet potato noodles? In the past, I’ve made zoodles and doodles (noodles made out of daikon radish), but it didn’t occur to me until recently to make swoodles(?). Is that what we’re calling them? Anyway, one night, with a hungry stomach and minimal ingredients on hand, I saw this gorgeous recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, and I realized I could make something similar using sweet potatoes in place of the pasta.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

This recipe starts with 2 medium sweet potatoes – you’ll be surprised how many noodles they make, and then you’ll also be surprised by how much they cook down in the pan. This recipe will make about 3 decent-sized servings, depending on the size of your sweet potatoes.

P.S. I’m a big fan of the Inspiralizer because unlike the other types that I’ve tried, it clamps down to your countertop making the “noodling” process far less frustrating and you won’t have sweet potatoes all over your floor.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

Because this is not actual pasta, more is more. The toppings are a really important component in this recipe to make the flavors and textures more exciting. Add plenty of toasted pine nuts, basil, grated cheese (or vegan “cheese” from this post), and serve with dollops of pesto.

You can also customize this to your liking: roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, roasted broccoli, and goat cheese (if that’s your thing) would be great additions.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale