365 Project: My birthday cake with Christmas tree lights in bokeh

Per my birthday wish, my hubby ordered this delicious carrot cake from Nourish Sequim, an all gluten-free restaurant. It’s easy to feel forgotten when your birthday lands smack in the middle of the holidays but, my hubby was determined to make my birthday (birthday week actually!) special and memorable! 🙂


Gluten-free carrot cake with fresh whipped cream, topped with sweet shredded organic carrots…YUM!

365 Project – 135: Sunny side up – yum or yuk? (May 15, 2013)

I’m a sucker for a runny egg yolk.  This is my typical breakfast, two slices of Udi’s gluten-free toast topped with local farm fresh sunny side up eggs, sprinkled with tumeric (more for the anti-inflammatory properties than for flavor.)  But, for some, runny egg yolks are disgusting.  Are you a fan of that rich, golden, runny yolk?  Yum or yuk??


365 Project – 295: IN MY BOWL: quinoa, kale, pineapple, celery w/ Annie’s shitake sesame dressing :) (October 22, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/60, Aperture: F/4.0, ISO: 1600

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 280: Tasty flower snack: rice cake with peanut butter and banana (October 6, 2012)

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Our snack today: mochi rice cake with peanut butter and banana…yum!! And, as my daughter says…”easy peasy, lemon squeezy!” 😉

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 269: Colorful stir-fry

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.2, ISO: 800

For sure, we eat with our eyes. Whether it’s beautiful plating, or a variety of complementary colors, how our food is presented can make our glands salivate…or not.  WhenI cooked up this stir-fry I kept the colors, shapes, and textures in mind: bright green broccoli (don’t overcook or it will lose its brightness), red peppers, yellow zucchini, diagonally cut carrots, and a trifecta of purple, variegated and yellow bush beans from my garden.  For flavor I used your typical asian flavors: onion, garlic, soy, fish sauce, salt and pepper.   It looked all Top Chef-y sided with a dome of brown rice and probably tasted better because it was so pretty. Ironically, I just posted on The Juicy Mamas blog about trying to teach kids how to eat with their taste buds, instead of just with their eyes.  And, I JUST realized I probably shared a mixed message between those two posts BUT…really, it’s one of those “both-and” situations. Yes, train your taste buds to eat, or at least try the ugliest of foods, and let yourself be pleasantly surprised but, also, make your food pretty to make it taste better. 🙂

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 254: RECIPE: Garlic, basil-infused olive oil (September 10, 2012)

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Basil and Garlic Infused Olive Oil

1 glass bottle or mason jar
2 cloves garlic (optional)
Approx 1 cup basil
3 cups olive oil

Peel the garlic and smash it with a heavy chef’s knife. Tear the basil, bruising the leaves to release the essential oils. Stuff the basil and the garlic into the bottle or mason jar. Pour the olive oil into a heat-proof pot or dish and place over a low flame. Heat the oil until very warm, but not bubbling. You’ll know it’s getting close when the oil’s texture appears to “thin”… you’ll sort of see “swirls” in the oil as this happens. DO NOT let it boil!

Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain into a sterilized bottle or jar and discard the garlic. Use within 24 hours. (Or store in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

NOTE: some recipes suggest storing in a cool, dry place for up to a week THEN refrigerating if infusing with garlic, to avoid botulism. others say to refrigerate right away. i chose the conservative route choosing to refrigerate right away and use quickly. if anyone knows the definitive answer on making homemade infused oils, please share!!

Adapted from http://www.bostonfoodandwhine.com/2010/07/25/how-to-make-basil-infused-olive-oil/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/garlic-infused-oil-and-dipping-sauce-recipe/index.html

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 85 : Port Angeles Farmers Market wins Farmers Market of the Year! (March 25, 2012)

Nash's Organic Veggies – Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/9, ISO: 400

Okasan korean beef potstickers – Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/14, ISO: 400

Our Port Angeles Farmers Market is another one of our gems, just walking distance from the water, graced with the view of our Olympic Mountains. Look for it downtown near the waterfront, up the street from Hollywood Beach, the Olympic Discovery Trail, and the Blackball Ferry (between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C.); close to downtown shops and restaurants on the corner of Lincoln St. and Front St. And…drum roll please, our market is the…

Winner of the 2012 Washington State Farmers’ Market Association
“Farmers’ Market of the Year” award for medium sized markets!

I took these pics yesterday, on a stellar sunny day at the market. Not only does our market offer organic veggies from our local and nearby farmers but, you can enjoy a full-on tasty lunch; everything from these homemade korean beef potstickers pictured above (OMG…da bomb), to many other tasty bites like fresh tamales, clam chowder, filipino lumpia, etc. etc. I will post more pics and a review later. Make sure to make our farmer’s market part of your itinerary the next time you come through Port Angeles. Saturdays 10am – 2pm.

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 75 : RECIPE: Quinoa tabouleh (gluten-free) (March 15, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/1250, Aperture: F/1.4, ISO: 200, Manual Focus

Tabouleh is such an easy salad…AND, I think it also photographs well! LOL I don’t normally food-blog for these 365 Project posts but, this is an easy recipe so why not?

In the past I typically used couscous but, since I’m trying to go gluten-free I decided to use quinoa, which is a staple in my freezer (you don’t have to freeze it but, since I get the large bag from Costco I freeze it.) Because of the high protein value in the quinoa and the feta cheese, this salad can be sufficient as a vegetarian entree, or it makes for a colorful, complementary side to any simply prepared or mediterranean-spiced meat dish. Here’s the fast, easy recipe:


Quinoa: Follow package instructions to prepare 1 cup uncooked quinoa cooked in 1 3/4 cups broth/water. Package directions will tell you to use 2 cups of water. I find that makes for a soggier tabouleh. Make sure all the liquid is absorbed before removing from the heat.


1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup oil
juice of one lemon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (salt to taste but, keep in mind the feta cheese will also add salt to this dish)
dash of ground cumin powder

1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes (~ 12 cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters)
1 cucumber seeded, peeled and diced*
1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Prepare the quinoa, fluff with a fork then set aside and let cool slightly. While the quinoa cooks, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and parsley to the vinagrette and toss to marinate. 20 minutes before serving, add the cooled quinoa to the veggies, toss well. Lightly toss in the crumbled feta cheese right before serving. Serve immediately at room temperature.

* To seed your cucumber, peel it then slice it lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds like you’d scoop them out of a canteloupe.  Then dice.  This is an optional step but, it really makes for a nice crunchy bite to your salad.

MAKE AHEAD: You can make the vinaigrette up to a day before. You can marinate the veggies up to an hour ahead of time. Quinoa can be prepared a few hours before serving. Make sure to fluff the quinoa and refrigerate.

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

RECIPE: Kale and Potato Soup with Red Chilies (Greens cookbook)


1 bunch kale
3 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced into ½ inch squares
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small dried red chili, seeded and chopped, or ½ tsp chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and diced into ½ inch cubes
7 c water or stock
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional) *
2 cans white beans *
Non-fat sour cream (optional)

* MY VARIATIONS: To add extra flavor I added 2-3 teaspoons of Seitenbacher vegetarian broth powder. Add this powder to taste, like you would add salt. Also, to give the soup some “meat” I added the white beans after pureeing the soup with my hand blender. To let the flavors develop I recommend making the soup in the morning or the day before.

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears cut the ruffled kale leaves off their stems, which are very tough and take a long time to cook. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly 2 inches square, wash them well, and set them aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, chili, bay leaf, and salt, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and the yeast, if using, plus a cup of the water or stock. Stir together, cover, and cook slowly for 5 minutes.

Add the kale, cover, and steam until it is wilted, stirring occasionally. Pour in the rest of the water or stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer slowly, covered, until the potatoes are quite soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the potatoes by pressing them against the sides of the pot, or puree a cup or two of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. This will make a unifying background for the other elements.

Taste the soup for salt and add a generous grinding of black pepper. If possible, let the soup sit for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to further develop. If desired add a spoonful of non-fat sour cream.

Serves 4 – 6.

FYI – this soup was served as part of a vegetarian dinner with Lindsay Wagner…yup the Bionic Woman! Click here to see the entire menu.

Recipe: Rosemary Garlic Foccacia Bread (Rebar cookbook)

Rosemary Garlic Foccacia Bread (From the Rebar cookbook)

==>Here’s Norita helping me make a batch of foccacia dough She loves to help me cook! 🙂

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tb traditional baking yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt (I prefer just 1 tsp salt)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups unbleached flour

6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb olive oil
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tb chopped rosemary

Pour the warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over top. Let stand 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy. Place the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook. Pour in the salt and olive oil and mix briefly. Add one cup of flour at a time and stir with a spoon. When the flour is mixed in, add the second cup, and continue until all the flour has been added. When you can’t stir anymore, pour dough on a floured surface and knead in until dough is smooth and elastic.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning the dough to coat in the oil. Place a damp towel over the bowl and let sit in a warm, draft-free location for for 1 hour. Punch down the dough, turn, re-cover, and let stand another hour.

Preheat the oven to 350′. Lightly oil a 12×16 (or similar size) pan and gently press the dough out with your hands to fill the pan.

Pour the 2 tb of oil on the dough and rub over the surface. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the salt, garlic and rosemary. Dimple the dough with your fingers.

Cook for 20 minutes and rotate the pan halfway through. Watch carefully so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

VARIATION:  Recently my hubby and I went to a restaurant where they served GRILLED focaccia bread with hummus.  It was fabulous!  So, we tried it when we were having a BBQ.  I removed the “sheet” of focaccia bread, cut it into two pieces, put it on the grill with the top open, and left it there just a few minutes, long enough to give it some grill marks.  Just grill the bottom side of the bread (eg. the side WITHOUT the salt, garlic & rosemary.)  Cut the bread diagonally to create triangles instead of squares/rectangles.  That shape makes it a bit more fun for some reason.  It was great!