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Pasta-less Pasta Salad


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Pastas, Salads, Uncategorized | Posted on 16-09-2012

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Once again, I am doing Kris Carr’s 21-Day Adventure Cleanse and I’m finding that the green juice really gets my creative juices flowing! I particularly love the challenge of making yummy food vegan AND gluten-free. This recipe meets those two criteria and many of the others on the cleanse — it’s made with raw veggies and herbs, it’s balanced with a protein, and it’s even low-glycemic!

The stand-in for pasta in this recipe is a large-grated summer squash. Grating the squash with a large-whole grater gives the squash the size and texture needed to look and feel like real pasta. And the light, zingy dressing gives it the traditional pasta-salad taste.

2 small or one large summer squash (yellow or zucchini), grated
1 cup fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp. fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 can of white beans: navy, northern or cannellini
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

For the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 tbsp. water

Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together until blended. Add to the veggie ingredients. Chill for one hour and serve.

Sweet Corn and Avocado Salsa


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-08-2012


Sweet corn season is just about over. Sniff sniff. So let’s go out on a high note with this easy, fresh salsa.


1 ripe Haas avocado, chopped
2 small ears sweet corn, kernels cut off
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
3 small, fresh garden tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
2 small cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1/2 fresh-squeezed lemon or lime

Optional: 1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced


  1. Combine ll of the ingredients listed in a bowl and stir.
  2. Taste. Add salt and lime to your personal taste.
  3. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour and serve.

Baked Kale Chips


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Appetizers & Sides | Posted on 29-01-2012

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Black bean veggie burger served with a generous portion of baked kale chips.

Alright, I know what kale chips sound like. And these are baked kale chips, no less. But you’ve got to believe me when I say, they’re awesomely delicious! And much easier to make than baked potato chips or even sweet potato chips. Better yet, served with a healthy dipping sauce, they are indeed kid-friendly.


1 bunch of curly-style kale (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or 4 shakes of sea salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry kale well.
  3. Pull the large leaves off of the thick stems of the kale.
  4. Tear kale into large, chip-sized pieces.
  5. Toss with oil, vinegar and salt.
  6. Optional: sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  7. Arrange on 1 or two baking sheets in a single layer. TIP: Use parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until kale is crisp and slightly brown. Your chips should be very light and crispy — be sure to bake longer if they aren’t.
  9. Serve with a dipping sauce of choice — ketchup, healthy ranch, BBQ — and your favorite sandwich!

The Unhealthiest Recipe on This Blog: Italian Butter


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Appetizers & Sides, Breads, Uncategorized | Posted on 22-01-2012

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Green Swamp Soup Italian Butter

My favorite Italian restaurant is Garozzo’s in Kansas City, Missouri. The original location is in Kansas City’s Little Italy near the river market. My dear friend, Frank Siraguso, who grew up in Little Italy during its golden age, turned me onto Garozzo’s many years ago. I was immediately smitten.

The first thing I remember tasting was a dish called Sicilian Garlic Dip that Frank affectionately called Italian Butter. Served with warm Italian bread, the dip was one of the most decadent and addictive dishes I’ve ever tasted. Like the infamous Turkish Delight in Chronicles of Narnia, I couldn’t get enough! The more I ate, the more I wanted.

At home, I tried to mimic the recipe. It’s impossible. But once I moved here to Iowa and far away from Garozzo’s, I became determined to come as close as I could.

What I came up with is a garlicky herbed dip that can’t beat Garozzo’s, but holds its own here at the Andrews’ dinner table.

Italian Butter


2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried or fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried basil (1 tsp. fresh)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 or 3 dashes of salt


  1. In the still warm melted butter, add minced garlic and stir. (This infused the fresh garlic flavor into the rest of the dip.)
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, grating cheese in last. Serve at room temperature with Italian or crusty ciabatta bread.

Super Crunchy Super Food Salad


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Salads | Posted on 17-11-2011

I taste tested this salad with Brando, our office intern, a.k.a. The Organic Boy, this week and he asked me what a superfood is. Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense. You can find a variety of lists of superfoods online.

First and foremost, this particular salad is designed to be crunchy. I wanted a super-hearty salad with lots of flavor and texture that could serve as a meal in itself. It features kale, red cabbage, carrots, apples, walnuts, pistachios, dried goji berries and craisins. The dressing is definitely Asian-inspired and made with low-fat Vegenaise.

NOTE: if you want to up the health quotient a little come Turkey Day, this would make a great side dish!

Did The Organic Boy like it? Yes. However, he suggests making it with almonds. You can dress up your super salad with just about any nut and dried fruit combo, so suit yourself.


For the salad

3 cups chopped kale
3 cups chopped red cabbage
1 apple, chopped and tossed in the juice of one lemon
1/2 cup organic dried fruit and nut mix (mine had the above nuts and dried fruits)
2 carrots, chopped
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds

For the dressing

1 large clove garlic
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. miso paste (optional)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 small lump of fresh ginger, peeled (about half the size of your thumb)
3/4 cup low-fat Vegenaise
Dash of cayenne
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. Agave Nectar or Honey


  1. In a medium-pot, saute kale and sesame seeds in 2 tsp. sesame oil on medium heat until slightly wilted, about two minutes. Set pot aside to cool.
  2. While the kale cools, throw all of the dressing ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth, around one minute. If you like your salad dressings thicker, just omit the water in the recipe.
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine all of the other salad ingredients, plus the cooled kale, and stir until well-mixed. Chill for one to two hours before serving.

“Cheesy” Cauliflower Soup (Vegan-friendly)


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Main Dishes, Soups, Uncategorized | Posted on 14-11-2011

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Although, I recently came out as a bona fide Chegan, there’s no need to go that route with this “cheesy” soup. Adapted from the Moosewood Low-fat Favorites cookbook, this soup was a hit with my family and even Chelsea at Roots Market!

What makes this soup so cheesy, I think, is the fresh lemon. It certainly wasn’t the intention of the recipe writers to make the soup cheesy, but in my version of the recipe, that’s how it turns out. The other reason this works so well is the fact that you puree the soup — this gives it the creamy “cheesy” smoothness without the cheese.


2 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
3 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped (about five cups)
3 tsp. dried dill
1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
5 cups vegetable broth (or 5 cups water with 2 tbsp. vegetable Better Than Bouillon)
Salt to taste

Optional: Green onions for garnish.


  1. In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic, celery and carrots in about 1/2 cup of broth or water until all veggies are soft.
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to a boil. (Be careful not to use too much water. Water should be just below the top of all the ingredients in your pot.)
  3. Reduce to a simmer and simmer until veggies are tender, around 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add about half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Stir the pureed mixture into the remaining soup.
  6. Serve topped with green onions.

Secret Agent Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Soups, Uncategorized | Posted on 26-09-2011

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Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, a.k.a. Secret Agent Soup

Gus said it best: This soup is peanut sauce meets squash. If you like either, I think you’ll like this. If you like both, you’ll love it.

I called this “Secret Agent Soup” because I read somewhere that kids are more apt to eat something with a fun, creative, kid-like name. I had to come up with this one on the fly because Gus asked what it was and I certainly didn’t want to tell him “Nutty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.” Way too boring. Way too healthy.

So, I told him it was Secret Agent Soup and he had to find out what was in it himself. This worked out splendidly because it required tasting a few bites to discern all of the different flavors. Of course, he nailed peanut sauce and squash immediately. (Technically, it’s not peanut sauce, but with the other spices it tastes a heck of a lot like it.)

This recipe is modified from a recipe for Nutty Sweet Potato Soup in this month’s Vegetarian Times.

2 tbsp. olive oil
5 cups roasted butternut squash*
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. creamy natural peanut butter
2 medium leeks, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric

Optional: 1 tsp. harissa paste or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you want it SPICY)

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped spinach

Garnish with honey roasted peanuts.


  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven saute leeks in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, peanut butter, tomato sauce and spices and saute for two more minutes (add broth if needed to moisten pot).
  3. Add squash and broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Puree soup in small batches.
  6. Add spinach.
  7. Garnish with peanuts and Sriracha sauce.

* Directions for roasting a squash:

1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Save the seeds for toasting!

2. Set both halves face down on a baking sheet with a rim.

3. Pour enough water onto the baking sheet to cover the bottom with water.

4. Roast for 40 minutes, or until squash are tender.

5. Allow to cool, then use or store in an airtight container in the fridge for later.

California Motley Soup


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Meal Ideas, Soups | Posted on 25-07-2011

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I worked as a waitress throughout high school and college in a variety of different restaurants. Nearly all of them served a soup called California Medley. It was a creamy soup (sometimes cheesy, sometimes not) with cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I’m sure it came from Martin Brothers or some other food service place, so it was OK. I wasn’t in love with it, but I always liked the idea of it.

Flash forward to the present, where I have turned into a soup-making machine and even have a blog with the word “soup” in it. And yet, I’ve never tried to remake California Medley and make it awesome. Until now.

I’m calling my version of this soup California Motley because it’s much more of a mishmash than your regular old medley. It has yummy fresh herbs and fresh farmer’s market veggies  (as opposed to veggies that came from god-knows-where, guar gum and who knows what else). And it rhymes with Motley Crew. Who isn’t at least intrigued by that?

Oh, and did I mention that kids LOVE it? Mine gobbled it up and then stood by with spoons trying to steal more when I put away the leftovers. The other great thing about this soup is that it smells simply amazing while it cooks.

For those of you who want to run out to your nearest farmer’s market so you can get your fresh veggies and herbs, I have listed those that are in season and available in Iowa below.


1 tsp. butter or buttery spread
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, chopped
1 medium-sized head of broccoli, chopped (florets only, no stems) — Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. garlic scapes, diced — Farmer’s Market Item
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped
3 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
1 small onion, diced — Farmer’s Market Item
1 tsp. fennel seed — You can add fresh fennel from the Farmer’s Market
1-2 tbsp. fresh basil– Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced– Farmer’s Market Item
1 tbsp. fresh celery leaf– Farmer’s Market Item
6 tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
6 cups water
1-2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


  1. Saute onion and celery in buttery spread until clear and soft. (Add liquid aminos a tablespoon at a time to avoid sticking.)
  2. Add garlic scapes and fennel seed. Saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  3. Add carrots, potatoes and cauliflower, then pour in water and remaining aminos. (For a thicker soup, pour water until barely covering veggies.)
  4. Bring to a boil and boil until veggies are tender (around 10 minutes).
  5. Turn heat down to low. Add the broccoli. (This will cook while you follow steps 5 through 8.)
  6. Using a ladle, dish out about half of the broth and veggies into a blender.
  7. Add cheese and pepper to the blender.
  8. Blend under “liquify” until smooth.
  9. Pour the blended mixture into the remaining soup in the pot. NOTE: This method helps us get a creamy texture without added butter, flour and cream (so this recipe is gluten-free).
  10. Add the basil, celery leaf and dill. NOTE: These herbs will MAKE the soup, but are optional for kids. Pickier kids may like the soup better without.

Hominy White Chili


Posted by Mariah | Posted in 21-Day-Adventure Cleanse, Appetizers & Sides, Soups | Posted on 04-05-2011

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When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite dinners was this: Bohemian-style dumplings drenched in brown butter, sausage patties, sauer kraut and hominy fried in bacon grease! These menu items were all lovingly made by my German-Bohemian-Irish grandma, Bette, whom I adored. Whenever I eat hominy, I think of her. And my mom still makes those awesomely buttery dumplings. I eat hominy now sans bacon, of course. This recipe is a nutritious alternative to the hominy-in-bacon-grease dish, but still has that same old down-homey-ness.

28-oz. can hominy
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, sliced
14-oz. can garbanzo beans
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced
1/3 cup quinoa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
7 cups vegetable broth (or 7 cups of water and five tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Saute onion in olive oil for about five minutes on medium heat, till they are clear. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
  2. Add red peppers and carrots and continue to saute until they soften. You may need to add broth or Bragg’s to keep the veggies from over-browning and sticking to your pan.
  3. Add spices, hominy and garbanzo beans and saute for two more minutes.
  4. Add broth or water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add quinoa.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes or until quinoa opens up.
  7. Add spinach and cilantro to your pot and serve after spinach has wilted.
  8. Serve with more cilantro and salt and pepper. Or, go crazy and add a big dollop of sour cream or guac and lots of tortilla chips.

Baby Lamp Chops With Yogurt Mint Sauce (Substitute for Lamb Included!)


Posted by Mariah | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 01-04-2011


I think I’ve stumbled upon the latest food trend just now. First there was bacon. Now, it’s food made out of babies for babies.  I was so moved by this recipe by the famous model/mother/foodie/boho blogger of Weelicious and her decision to overcome her “fear” of eating lamb so she could feed it to her two young children that I just had to post it. She really took one for the team, let me tell you, and made up this delicious recipe, “My kids must not have inherited my distaste for lamb because my two little carnivores proceeded to voraciously dip the chops in the yogurt mint sauce and pick the bones clean of any trace of meat. They were in heaven to say the least. I could swear the look on both of their faces meant, ‘why have you never given us this before?!’”

Wow! This is incredibly impressive. Here I thought I was doing well getting my kids to eat their hummus with a spoon and gobble up asparagus soup like little fiends, but no. When you can get your babies to eat other babies, you have gone to a whole nother level.

So, why not give this a try? If you cant find a baby lamb in your backyard or at your local farm, why not go for a kitten, or better yet, a nice baby rabbit. I’m sure there’s lots of those around this time of year, what with Easter and what not. Go crazy!