Thursday, October 17, 2013



It's probably pretty obvious at this point that I've decided to take a step away from blogging.  This summer was a busy one for us, full of adventures - including another international trip with our babes. But the truth really is, while I have always been passionate about the cooking, recipe writing, and photo-taking aspect of things, I've never been much of a blogger.  At all.  To be honest, sitting down at the computer to compile a post is one of my least favorite things.  There are about a thousand things I'd rather do with my time, in fact.  And that's exactly what I've been doing for the past six months.  Cooking, taking photos, spending time with my little family, traveling...but most of all - living, without taking the time to document it all.  There have definitely been times when I've missed coming here, but I feel a sense that life is moving forward, and in a different direction.  In August, after returning from Costa Rica, we found out we are expecting our third child, and with dreams of selling our house and moving overseas, I couldn't be more excited to see where our life will go from here.  

But I just want to say thank you, to all of you that have read this blog, and commented over the past three years.  That have tried my recipes, or left kind notes.  I've met so many wonderful people through it, and I definitely, definitely do not regret that.  There may come a time when I pick up where I left off, but for now, this space will be pretty quiet.


P.S. I will be keeping this site (and all my recipes) up, in case you were wondering.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In Bloom.


"It is spring again.
The earth is like a child that
knows poems by heart."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

It doesn't quite feel like Spring here yet (aside from a few warm days, it's still been pretty cold), but everything is beginning to come alive, once again.  After three months of cold, I'm longing for my dresses, sandals, digging in the dirt, and all of the wonderful spring produce.  I can hardly wait.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fennel, Apple, and Walnut Salad.


Hello, March.  The days are growing slightly longer, and it won't be long before pear blossoms emerge.  After a cold Oklahoma winter, I'm longing for warmth and sunlight.  As far as cooking goes, I've been slowly transitioning from heavy winter fare, to lighter spring dishes.  I've made a lot of quick salads, like this one.  

Let's talk about fennel.  You may have only seen fennel in seed form, but it's actually a bulb.  It's a member of the same family as carrots, dill, and celery.  It's crisp, slightly sweet, with anise-like flavor.  I'm a big fan.  It's delicious raw, but you can roast or sauté it as well.  If you're a bit weary, just give it a try.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I've had this fruit and fennel salad in my head for a while, so the other day I decided to finally put it together.  It's really simple: fennel and apple with a lemon vinaigrette.  I love the tart apple, but if you'd like something sweeter I think pear would be equally as nice (I'm going to try that next.)  You can also add a bit of cheese, if you want.  Most recipes will recommend using a mandolin slicer, but I don't have one, so I just sliced the apple and fennel really thinly and it worked fine.  If you happen to have a mandolin, by all means use it.

1 fennel bulb, fronds reserved
1-2 tart apples (such as pink lady or granny smith), peeled
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 teaspoon dijon mustard  
juice of half a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt 

Begin by removing the outer layer of the fennel, and stalks.  Trim the bottom, and slice in half.  Cut out the core, and slice thinly widthwise.  Next, slice the apple thinly.  Immediately squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it, to keep it from turning brown.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt.  Whisking constantly, add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the fennel, apple, and walnuts.  Pour vinaigrette over, and garnish with chopped fennel fronds.

serves 4.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Raw Double Layer Brownies With Cacao Nibs


I figured I better get this post up in time for v day.  Even if you don't buy into the whole commercial holiday thing, it's still a good excuse to eat chocolate, right?  These brownies are, of course, not your typical brownies.  Instead of flour and sugar, they're made with cashews, dates, and honey.  They're also full of antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, and plenty of natural sweetness.  And I happen to think they're actually better than real brownies.  Because, unlike real brownies, you won't feel bloated or sugar high after you eat five of them. Trust me, I speak from experience.

The base is ground cashews, but almost any nut will work just fine.  I've made them with pecans as well, with very similar results.  I prefer to use local honey as the sweetener, but for a completely raw vegan brownie, use raw agave instead.  For a coconut-less version, add in another cup and a half of raw nuts.

Adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

for the brownie:
1 3/4 cups raw cashews
2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
12 pitted medjool dates
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw honey
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch of fine grain sea salt

for the ganache:
1 cup raw honey
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1 cup raw cacao powder
pinch of fine grain sea salt

cacao nibs for topping

Begin by placing the cashews in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until very finely ground.  Add in the coconut, and dates.  Pulse until combined.  Next, add the cacao, honey, vanilla bean, and pinch of salt.  Process until a dough forms, about 1-2 minutes.  Remove from bowl, and press into an 8 inch square pan.  Set aside, and make the ganache.

Rinse and dry your food processor.  Place all the ganache ingredients in the food processor, and pulse until a thick sauce forms.  Pour onto brownies, and sprinkle with cacao nibs.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.  Remove from fridge, and cut into squares.  Serve chilled.

serves 4-6.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lemon Curd Tart With Raw Coconut Crust


Citrus season is at its peak, and I've been taking full advantage.   Blood oranges, cara caras, grapefruits, lemons...I can't get enough.  Especially lemon, though.  Between juicing, lemon water, and dressing salads, we go through a ton of lemons every week.  Desserts are pretty sparse around here, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to surprise Toby and make a lemon curd tart.  He isn't usually that into dessert, but (like me) he loves anything lemon.  For the curd, I used honey and coconut oil in place of the sugar and butter.  I was a bit skeptical of how well the honey would work (and how it would stand up to traditional curd), but it ended up the perfect consistency. The first time I made the tart, I used coconut flour for the crust, but I wasn't all that pleased with it.  So, the second time around, I made a raw coconut and date crust, which we both loved.  The tart lemon pairs so well with the nutty crust.  And the best part is how quickly it comes together, since there isn't any baking involved.

If you don't care for coconut, an almond flour crust would work just as well.  I have a recipe here (just spread the dough into a large tart pan, instead of the tartlets).  If you want to make it completely raw/vegan, I've seen some great recipes without egg yolks.  Just substitute the honey for agave. 

for the curd:

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
a little less than 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
zest of 1 lemon

for the crust:
About 5 oz. coconut flakes (not shredded)
4-5 pitted dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon raw honey
pinch of cinnamon
tiny pinch of sea salt

To make the crust, place the coconut flakes, dates, oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt into the bowl of a food processor.  Process until it starts to stick together, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.  Remove from bowl, and press into the bottom and sides of a round tart pan.  Refrigerate while you make the curd.

For the curd, place the egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, and honey into a small saucepan.  Whisk to combine (make sure everything is well incorporated).  Whisking constantly, over medium heat, cook until it starts to bubble.  Still whisking, add the coconut oil in small chunks.  Let the mixture bubble for about a minute, before turning off the heat.  Pour through a fine sieve.  Remove crust from fridge and pour in filling.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to overnight.  Serve chilled.

serves 8.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A New Year.


I'm back.  It's been an incredibly hectic couple of months.  Between being in a wedding, Andreas and Toby's birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas - the last few months of 2012 flew by for me.  

2013 has just begun, and it's already brought some exciting opportunities my way.  One of them being, contributing to a wonderful online publication, The Chalkboard Magazine.  If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.  It's quickly become one of my daily reads; it's full of inspiring content and beautiful photos.  Three of my juice recipes are already up, and there are more to come.

I hope you're all having a great weekend.  I'll have some new recipes for you, soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summer to Fall


Fall is officially here, and the cool air is beginning to creep in.  We have the garden ready to plant fall crops, and my weekly CSA the last few weeks has been a beautiful array of winter squash.  I also baked a couple loaves of banana bread the other day (my first baking in months and months).  I love this time of year - sipping tea, thunderstorms, sweaters, spices, pumpkin, apples, baking, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

You may have noticed the pretty big change around here : a new name.  It's been nearly three years since I started writing this blog, and it's changed and grown a lot in those three years.  La Mesa, "the table" in Spanish, is a name really dear to my heart.  It's one that my Mom suggested in the very beginning.    Since I'm looking to begin the long process of jumping to a website, I decided to finally change it.  Eventually, I'll change the url - but for now, it'll stay wholefamilyfare.

I hope you're all enjoying the cooler weather, and have a wonderful weekend.

footnote:  for some reason, the recipe section links haven't been working for a few weeks, but I'll do my best to fix them as soon as possible!