Honey Sriracha Squash Pickles

by Sarah on June 29, 2015 · 0 comments

A story of recipe obsession: told in pictures.*

*Until the end.
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Honey Sriracha Squash Pickles

(Adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2 small zucchini (3/4 lb.), very thinly sliced
  • 2 small yellow summer squash (3/4 lb.), very thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2″ fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sriracha
  1. Place (a) wire rack(s) on a rimmed baking sheet(s).
  2. Lay zucchini and squash slices on rack(s) and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  3. Allow to rest 30 minutes or so.
  4. Rinse squash VERY well.
  5. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine squash and onions.
  6. Combine water, vinegar, honey, sriracha, and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir well until honey is dissolved.
  7. Pour mixture over squash and onions.
  8. Stir, cover, and allow to chill for at least 2 hours.

“I’m glad y’all can come tonight. I’m also glad to know you’re a vegetarian, because I’m testing a new veggie burger recipe! But, well, the thing about veggie burgers is–“

“The taste is always better than the texture?”IMG_0666 (1280x853)

And that response made the husband of a member of my yoga ‘crew’ (also one of The Professor’s coworkers) my friend for life.

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Because he has–as I wish we all could (myself included)– made his peace with the fact that a homemade veggie burger will likely always be slightly soft, probably fall apart, and even though it still tastes so good you will think, “Next time…NEXT time I’ll get it!” you know that’s really a pipe dream.

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Instead, we should all accept the fact that we can’t get the texture of a mass produced burger at home…at least we know what’s in them?IMG_0560 (1280x853)

And what’s in THESE is a combination of brown rice, sweet potato, and, yes, my dear chickadees, SMOKED almonds.*

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*While The Professor bought these home–in a strangely similar parallel to the behavior of Papa Smart and HIS smoked almond obsession–he will likely never eat a veggie burger again. His one and only was probably when we were still in the early stages of dating and he was trying to impress me.IMG_0531 (1280x852)


Insane.IMG_0595 (1280x853)


A bit like a hash brown, maybe?IMG_0671 (1280x853)

Veggie burger success?

I’d say the fact that even non-vegetarians ate them and there were requests to take extras home from the party signifies YES.IMG_0642 (1280x853)

Smoked Almond & Sweet Potato Jamaican Jerk Veggie Burgers*

[Makes 8 patties]

  • 1/3 cup smoked almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup shallot or sweet onion, very finely chopped [I used the food chopper.]
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice (day old, cold, works best)
  • 3/4 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 1 15.5-oz can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp. sriracha
  • 2 tsp. Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika or cumin (optional)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)
  1. In a food processor or small chopper, process almonds and cilantro until a coarse meal forms.
  2. Put mixture into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl.
  4. Using a fork, mash all ingredients together so that everything is well incorporated, but still chunky.
  5. Form 8 patties and  place on a baking sheet coated with baking spray.
  6. At this point, you may choose to refrigerate the patties until time for cooking.
  7. Bake patties at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until browned and slightly crispy.

*Recipe adapted from Healthy, Happy Life’s veggie burger collection


Thai Pineapple & Cucumber Salad

by Sarah on June 23, 2015 · 0 comments

It was like Kylie Minogue was on a constant loop in my brain, because I kept pulling up the recipe for Thai Watermelon Salad I found through Pinterest: I can’t could NOT get you it outta my head.

And yet…wouldn’t pineapple make so much more sense?IMG_0605 (1280x853)

So I riffed on the original and made something I think might taste even better.IMG_0625 (1280x853)

As for my fears that 1) I would eat it all before our Summer Solstice Shindig guests arrived…summersolsticeinvite

…and 2) it would be a little too adventurous for them?IMG_20150620_192832_722 (1280x721)


(Although a close call on #1)IMG_0614 (1280x853)

In fact, I heard the magical words every hostess (and potluck contributor) hopes for, at least in some form or fashion:

What was in that small dish? That pineapple stuff? That was amazing!IMG_0610 (1280x852)

[Even the pairing of fish sauce and fruit didn’t deter them.]

Thai Pineapple & Cucumber Salad

(Adapted from Scaling Back Blog’s Thai Watermelon Salad)

  • 6 cups pineapple, diced
  • 4 cups cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced, then quartered
  • 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (try for small ones, not the giant green onions)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce (or more, if you like)
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sriracha (just drizzle as much as you like)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients except herbs in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Chill a few hours before serving (if possible) to let the flavor develop.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle on fresh herbs and stir a few times.
  5. Top with peanuts, if using.
  6. Enjoy!

It’s June 20, 2015, and a number of important things are happening today:IMG_0285 (1280x853)
It’s the first day of summer.
It’s Father’s Day.
And it’s time for Recipe ReduxTheme? Pie.reciperedux_pie
What better way to celebrate all of this than with a cool, refreshing smoothie inspired by Papa Smart’s favorite pie (or at least the pie he specially requested me to make one time a gazillion years ago…but the memory stuck).IMG_0271 (1280x853)
Technically this Chocolate Pecan Pie business is supposed to be a Derby Pie, featuring Kentucky Bourbon and eaten on a special day in May. pecan_pie2
But instead, I’ve turned it into a chocolate pecan protein smoothie that is a WHOLE lot better for you–flax! pecans! protein!–but still tastes like chocolate pecan pie.*
*You know, not so much like pecans as sticky, sweet, sugary, buttery, deliciousness with a few crunches of pecan nuttiness just so we can all it pecan pie?

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Mighty appe-PIE-zing, no?IMG_0291 (1280x853)
Chocolate Pecan Pie Smoothie
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder*
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla butter nut extract (or butter extract, or vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. golden flax seed meal
  1. In a blender, combine protein powder, almond milk, extract, and ice.
  2. Blend until smooth and thick.
  3. Add dates to the blender.
  4. Process until chopped and evenly distributed.
  5. Add ground flax seed and 3 Tbsp. pecans. Pulse just until incorporated.
  6. Pour smoothie into glass and sprinkle with remaining pecans.
 *I used Growing Naturals Chocolate Power rice protein.


Hoisin & Ginger Stir Fry Sauce

by Sarah on June 18, 2015 · 3 comments

When you buy a new ingredient for a recipe, you can either let it languish in the back of the cabinet only to be discovered months (years?) later in a state of near death that renders it unusable*…OR you can immediately fixate focus on trying to creatively incorporate it into new (or any) dish.

*I’m so sorry, still, dear tamarind paste.IMG_0230 (1280x853)

Hoisin in the fridge?

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Well, I don’t think my sudden, incredible need for stir fry was a coincidence.


[OK, this whole “I only want to eat Asian food” thing is not really any sort of sudden occurence. I’m fairly certain I should just retitle ALL of my Pinterest boards “Asian foods for various seasons and in varying levels of ‘could maybe convince The Professor to eat them’]IMG_20150615_194011_915 (1280x720)

I consulted a number of basic sauce recipes (and some I want to try as written later…) and came up with something that I find to be fairly basic, and a good “starter sauce” to which you could add more heat–SRIRACHA!–garlic, peanut butter (!), or even some five spice or something.IMG_0238 (1280x853)

Warning/Note: After delightedly dishing out a generous portion of a dinner entirely comprised of vegetables and brown rice, The Professor issued one of those tentative, “So what’s in the sauce?” comments. As there was nothing offensive or weird–at least after I explained what hoisin was–we could only come to the conclusion that The Professor’s “ginger tolerance”is much lower than mine. I could hardly taste it, even with adding fresh ginger to the pan…so you may need to adjust based on taste preferences in your house.

Hoisin & Ginger Stir Fry Sauce

(Makes 2 cups)

  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. hoisin
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chili paste (sambal oolek)
  • 1/4 tsp. fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Mason jar (or other vessel).
  2. Whisk extremely well!
  3. Add to stir-fried veggies as you would any other stir fry sauce. (And perhaps save a bit warmed to drizzle extra on your rice!)

The only time I remember The Professor telling me I made something of Italian origin better than he could was last year’s pesto experiment, during which even my “Oops, I forgot the oil!” concoction proved to be slightly more delicious than his later attempt.IMG_0205 (1280x853)

(Not last summer’s pesto.)IMG_0208 (1280x853)

Granted, The Professor makes some darn good pasta (and pizza), but I also like to try my hand at it every now and then.*

*Especially when it is so cute!IMG_0213 (853x1280)

Yet,while I’m sure he trusted in my pesto making abilities, the hawk-eyed surveillance of the pasta cooking was evident to all parties in the kitchen (me, and our dinner guests).IMG_0218 (1280x853)

But guess who even had seconds?

[Pesto Pasta by Miss Pember for the win.]IMG_0221 (1280x851)

The desire to use cashews came from the fact that 1) I had them and 2) they are less expensive than pine nuts. Also, they cashews make their own sort of oil and creaminess that sticks well to pasta, reducing the amount of oil you need (if any). I worked mainly with this recipe as a guide–mostly because it didn’t require any soaking of cashews* or initial time investment and I wanted pesto…and I wanted it NOW.

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And no, he didn’t notice I used cashews. :)

Lemon Cashew Pesto Pasta [with Bay Scallops & Summer Squash]

(Serves 4-6)

  • 1/2 recipe Lemon Cashew Pesto (below)
  • 12 oz. trottole or other bite-sized pasta
  • 12 oz. bay scallops, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large yellow summer squash, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • fresh basil, for serving
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving (optional)
  1. Roast zucchini, squash, and onion at 375 degrees until tender (about 30 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your chop).
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  3. While pasta is cooking, pour a thin layer of olive oil into a frying pan and get searing hot.
  4. When there are about 3 minutes left of pasta cooking time, put bay scallops into the pan.
  5. Remove pasta from stove, drain, and return to the pot.
  6. Stir in pesto, then the squash mixture.
  7. Once scallops are cooked (translucent), about 4 minutes or so, add to the pan or serving dish.
  8. Sprinkle with fresh basil and cheese!

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Lemon Cashew Pesto

(Adapted from Kevin Is Cooking)

  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • juice of half a lemon (or more)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 3 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 2-4 Tbsp. water or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Combine pesto, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Process until a coarse meal forms.
  2. Add basil and Parmesan to the food processor, processing well.
  3. Adjust seasoning and water/broth to taste and consistency desires.
  4. Remove pesto from food processor and stir in olive oil.
  5. Store VERY tightly covered (even with plastic wrap pressed into it) to reduce oxidation.

One Pot Thai Veggie Pasta

by Sarah on June 12, 2015 · 2 comments

False advertising it was.IMG_9967 (1280x853)

“Effortless”?  I think not.


Easy? Absolutely.IMG_9903 (1280x853)

But it required some time.

And some energy.

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And Time x Energy = Effort.IMG_9931 (1280x853)

However, it (in a Miss Smart-erized form of course) was also the best thing I ever made.

(At least in the past few weeks.)IMG_9975 (1280x853)

Mountains of pasta consumed upon immediate creation? Uh huh.

Mountains of pasta consumed cold, while standing over the sink, perhaps with my fingers, while contemplating whether to actually reheat the leftovers? Thai and stop me.IMG_9948 (1280x853)

One Pot Thai Veggie Pasta

(Adapted from Produce on Parades‘ Effortless Thai Pasta)

  • 12 oz. dry fettuccine (or bucatini, linguini, spaghetti)
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup zucchini, julienned
  • 1 cup yellow squash, julienned
  • 4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly (reserve dark green parts for garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter or 2 Tbsp. peanut butter powder + 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground chili paste (sambal oolek)
  • 1/2 lime, sliced, for garnish
  • crushed peanuts, for garnish
  • chopped cilantro , for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except veggies, pasta, and garnishes in a large stock pot. Stir very well.
  2. Add vegetables and pasta to the pot. (Don’t worry that it is sticking out of the liquid.)
  3. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring consistently until pasta wilts into the water.
  4. Continue to stir regularly, cooking 10-12 minutes.
  5. When sauce has thickened (keeping in mind it will continue to do so as it cools), you are ready to eat!

Why I thought that making salad dressing out of protein powder–much less vanilla protein powder–would be a good idea, I’m not sure I’ll ever know.IMG_9742 (1280x853)

But I’d read some recipes that hinted at the fact I had it on relatively good authority that vanilla and balsamic vinegar were a surprisingly addictive combination.IMG_9760 (1280x851)

And who doesn’t want to make their salad dressing work for them instead of against them (as we are so often told*IMG_9790 (1280x853)

*Oh Ranch Dressing, why do you have no redeeming health qualities? You taste SO GOOD.IMG_9811 (1280x853)

This dressing tastes great on a spoon roasted veggies (particularly squash, mushrooms, and potatoes) or on any green salad, but I think my favorite version was inspired by some spontaneous farmers’ market purchasesIMG_20150602_114553

I’d gone for eggs, but with no chicken-owning farmers in sight that morning, at least I was able to get my protein in a different (and perhaps slightly unconventional) way.IMG_9801 (1280x853)

High Protein Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

(Makes 1 cup)

  • 1/4 cup Growing Naturals Vanilla Blast Brown Rice Protein
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. flavorless oil (grapeseed, canola)
  • 1-2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Process very well.
  3. Drizzle over any fresh green salad, especially one with berries, or on roasted vegetables (especially potatoes, squash, or mushrooms).

Note: Dressing will store in the fridge for at least 3-5 days, but will need a good stirring before every serving.

**I received free protein powder from Growing Naturals to use in recipe development. I was not compensated monetarily for my time.**


“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”IMG_0036 (1280x853)

I wasn’t planning on using this dish for the Recipe Redux & Davidson’s Choice Safest Eggs Light & Lean Recipe Contest.Slide2

Because, honestly, my shakshuka never looks as good as cooking magazines and the interwebs (known as Pinterest and Google Images) tell me it should.shakshuka

But after months of thinking about it (solely based on our communal viewing of The Great Food Truck Race and support of the Middle Feast food truck) it received the highest praise from The Professor*….IMG_0017 (1280x853)

*”Very good,” said in monotone while briefly glancing over to look at me. (He’s not quite as excitable about food as I am.)IMG_0024 (1280x853)

…and realizing when a friend asked me for the recipe (after enjoying it during my night for The Bachelor/ette cooking) that I’d actually changed the many recipes I had consulted over time enough to be my own…IMG_20150602_090131

…well, this was one dish too good NOT to share.IMG_0052 (1280x853)

Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs are perfect for this dish, because they are pasteurized in a perfectly calibrated water bath that removes risk of Salmonella without cooking the egg, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick if they are still raw, or just slightly cooked.*

*I wish these had been available all those times Mama Smart told me I wasn’t allowed to eat the raw brownie batter or cookie dough.Slide1

And with shakshuka, you’re trying to keep the eggs soft cooked and runny, because that joyously delicious and creamy yolk mixing with the spicy seasoned tomato sauce and eaten with pita (or English muffins, because, well, nooks and crannies people) is what makes shakshuka so good.*

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 *And good for you: welcome to my body choline, protein, complex carbs, Vitamin C, and lycophene!IMG_0043 (1280x853)

So good, in fact, that I ate it two nights in a row, and then for breakfast.IMG_0030 (1280x852)

And I’d probably eat it again right now if I wasn’t out of tomatoes.


(Serves 4)

  • 4-8 eggs (depending on appetites)*
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 28-oz can whole, peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for serving)
  • feta or queso fresco, for serving
  • warm whole wheat pita bread or toasted English muffins, for serving

*Because a friend asked, I would say 2 is normal, but you may be really hungry, or want to focus on filling up your stomach with the sauce (like me).

  1. Finely chop onion and bell pepper. (I prefer to use an electric chopper.)
  2. In a large, wide skillet or sauce pan–preferably with a high ‘lip’/edge and definitely with a lid–saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper in 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil until softened.
  3. While onion, pepper, and garlic are cooking, open tomatoes and either crush by hand in large bowl or coarsely chop directly in the can with a knife.
  4. Add tomatoes to the pan, stirring well to combine all vegetables.
  5. Stir in spices and bring sauce to a simmer.
  6. Continue to cook and stir until tomatoes are mostly broken down.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low.
  8. Crack eggs directly into the sauce, working in batches if necessary.
  9. Cover pan and cook eggs until whites are (at least mostly) cooked and yolks are just setting up.
  10. Spoon egg(s) into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese, if desired.


I was going to be lazy, as I’d just made dinner two nights in a row for The Professor, followed by another evening of cooking for friends during The Bachelorette (although that was the same recipe as the night before AND I had help on one evening)…

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…but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make something I wasn’t sure that The Professor would eat, but that my girlfriends at Book Club would probably love to try.*

*I do, in fact, have a Pinterest board entitled “When The Professor’s Away, Sarah Can Play.”IMG_20150602_175923_676 (720x1280)

Besides, cucumbers apparently grow at a rate of none to 400 overnight in a garden. So using them was a good idea.IMG_9624 (1280x853)

And also, I mean, why be self-motivated to work on a PhD when you can COOK?!?!IMG_9685 (1280x853)

Cucumber & Soba Noodle Salad with Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

(Serves 6-8, I would guess)

  • Coconut Almond Satay Sauce (recipe below)
  • 9.5 oz. (one standard package) soba noodles
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro*

*Note: You may want to reserve some from mixing to sprinkle over the top for presentation. :)

  1. Cook soba according to package directions.
  2. Rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss cooked soba noodles with Coconut Almond Satay Sauce.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. [Although really it tastes great right away, too!]IMG_9636 (1280x853)

Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

(adapted from Addicted to Veggies’ recipe)

  • 1/2 cup almond butter*
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp date paste (or 1-2 dates soaked in warm water for a bit)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2  tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 c coconut water (or plain water)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut flour (for thickening
*mine was lightly salted and made with roasted almonds, but you could use raw almond butter I am sure
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or strong blender and process until smooth.