Fourth of July, Twenty Twelve

I used a Pinterest board and just plain paper and ink to plan a lovely picnic day with friends on Lake Michigan. It was a great day, and fun was had. I thought I would share a couple of the yummy recipes that were used.

Easy Gluten-Free Baguettes

Yields 3 Baguettes
3 1/2 cups Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix
Yeast Packet
1 1/2 cups warm water at 115 degrees F
Two beaten free-range organic eggs (or if you wish to be egg-free: 1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy)
  1. Warm the oven briefly by turning it on and off.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the bread mix with the yeast. Add the warm water and eggs (or egg replacer). Beat for three minutes till smooth.
  4. Divide the dough into thirds and scoop it onto the lined baking sheet. Using wet fingers, smooth and form the dough into long baguettes. Use a knife to cut the tops with three of four slashes.
  5. Place the loaves into the warm oven and allow them to rise for one hour.
  6. Once hour is up, with the loaves still in the oven, heat the oven to 375ºF.
  7. Set the timer and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or so, until the loaves are firm to the touch and crusty. (If the outside is not crusty or the loaves feel too soft, do the option below- place them directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees F- for about ten minutes.)
  8. Refrigerate what you don’t immediately eat. Freeze what will not be eaten within a few days.

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

1 12 to 13 oz. jar pitted Kalamata Olives
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or raw agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon Italian Herb blend (thyme, sage, basil, oregano)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse off and on until you achieve the consistency you prefer.
  2. Taste for seasoning adjustments.
  3. Cover and refrigerate. Best eaten within a week.
Adapted from these great recipes

Rolo Worthy: Banana Oatmeal Cups

I have often mentioned here that I would love to create a live recipe blog. I even started playing with one here. Part of the reason that this hasn’t worked out so great, is that there is already a messy, but very comprehensive private blog that I co-manage with my husband that gets all of our recipe attention. It’s super useful for us, and we reference almost every day.

Lately, I have been having fun cleaning it up a bit, and have been considering making it live someday. It just seems like to much great, carefully curated information not to share! It’s far from being at a share point, but here is a little teaser of some great g-free breakfast ‘cupcakes’ we have been loving lately. Hope you enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Cups
Yield: 6-12
  • 3 ripe mashed bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries (or mini chocolate chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Spray a muffin pan and/or liners with with non-stick spray.
  4. Divide batter into 6-12 muffin cups – depending on how big you want your muffins, and how big your muffin tins are.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes, you’ll see the edges just starting to brown and they will be firm to the touch.
  6. Let cool a bit before removing from pan/liners.
  7. Optional: Before serving, ‘ice’ each cup with peanut butter and garnish with a thin slice of banana

Recipe: Polenta Pizza


I have been thinking and talking a lot here about the idea of dedicating time to create and manage another full time recipe blog, but why should that even be a priority for me? I’m feeling so split and divided by so much social media these days, that the idea of consolidating is hugely appealing. Then I slapped myself on the forehead and said, “Self? Take those Instragram photos you love to take, and if a recipe is worthy- it can find a spot on The Ci!” Sometimes you have to perk up and listen to that inner voice.


Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 cup instant polenta
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound baby spinach
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. grated Mozzarella cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Lightly oil a 9-inch round baking dish. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and slowly stir in the polenta. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the polenta is thick, about 5 minutes. Pour the hot polenta into the baking dish and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Let stand until firm, about 25 minutes.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to moderately high and add the spinach, stirring to wilt it. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the spinach warm.

If grilling, light a grill and oil the grates. If not using a grill, brush a bit of oil on each side of the block of polenta that you have removed from the baking dish. Cut the polenta into 8 wedges and grill/place in pan over moderately high heat until crisp and lightly charred, 5 minutes per side. Place 2 wedges on each plate; top each with sauce and grated cheese. Spoon the warm spinach on top and serve.

The polenta can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Slice the polenta and bring to room temperature before proceeding.

(inspired by this recipe)

Recipe: Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash with Steamed Broccoli

My husband and I have been toying with a new blog together that is taking a while to put together – a recipe site that will include very tried and tested recipes that are mostly (but not all) gluten-free, vegan, and/or vegetarian. (UPDATE: It’s up and here: The Worthy Kitchen).

It’s been fun, but slow going. The reason it’s going so slow: (and I have mentioned this before) I can’t cook. In order for a recipe to be included on this new blog, it not only has to be tried, and tried again to make sure it’s delicious and quick –  but then I HAVE TO COOK IT. And if I can cook it, so can you.

I thought I would collect a few of my favorites that pop up here. Hope you can enjoy, and I look forward to sharing the link to the new site here when it’s all ready to go.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Hash with Steamed Broccoli

This recipe is super easy (if you have a food processor), vegan, all-natural, relatively healthy, and can be adapted a dozen different ways depending on what is laying around your kitchen. Start with the sweet potatoes, the cumin, and the oil then add whatever harmonious vegetables (or meat) that you want. We use beans and corn, but there are dozens of combinations to explore. And if you’re feeling real fancy (and unvegan), fry up an egg for each diner and top off each bowl of hash with a fried egg.

Time: less than 30 minutes
Servings: 4

1 to 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 medium)
2 to 3 tablespoons oil (neutral oil is best–vegetable, grapeseed, canola–but olive oil is ok)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (can sub chipotle hot sauce)
14oz can of cooked beans (pinto is my favorite, but others work too)
14oz can of corn, or 1.5 cups frozen corn kernels

1 pound fresh broccoli
olive oil to taste
vinegar to taste (sherry or wine vinegar would be best)

Peel and wash your sweet potatoes. Run them through the shredder attachment of your food processor, or shred them using a box shredder.

Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet (a 12-inch is best, if you’ve got one) over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the shredded sweet potatoes and stir well. Set a timer for 5 minutes and stir every minute or two.

While the hash cooks, chop 1 or 2 chipotles (or not if using chipotle hot sauce). Drain and rinse your beans and corn (might as well rinse and drain them together).

When the timer goes off, add the chipotle peppers to the hash (or some dashes of chipotle hot sauce) and stir again. Set the timer for another 5 minutes minutes, stirring every minute or two.

Cut your broccoli into florets and rinse well. If you have the inclination, peel the rough skin from the stems with a vegetable peeler and cut those into bite-sized pieces (Kelly did not have the inclination on her trial). Put the broccoli into a large, microwave-safe bowl and put a loose-fitting lid on it. Make sure there is a tablespoon or two of water at the bottom of the bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes.

When the timer goes off, add the beans and corn to the skillet and mix well. Cook, stirring, just to heat it all up. At this point, add any other cooked veggies you have laying around (spinach, broccoli, whatever) and it will probably be good. Continue to stir and taste until you are happy with the tenderness and the seasoning.

At the same time, check the tenderness of the broccoli. If you’d like it cooked more, microwave another minute or two. Repeat this process until you are happy with the doneness of the broccoli. Then drain and put in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle olive oil and a touch of vinegar over. Toss and adjust to your taste.

Serve the hash in a large bowl.

Calories (per serving, without egg): 400-450

adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe – source unknown