Perfect Neapolitan Pizza & Sundried Tomato Marinara

The past decade, I’ve been on a search for the perfect pizza crust recipe. I’ve always been partial to thin, crusty Neapolitan style pizzas, and have tried many techniques to achieve such a crust. For years, I tested different types of flour, short and long fermentation times, various pizza stones and pans, yet I never found the chewy, crunchy crust that I longed for.

A few years ago, I shared this recipe for pizza dough, which is a nice dough if you like a softer crust with a decent chew. It also works great when you fry it first, to achieve a ‘Totino’s’ style pizza. However, it is just not the Neapolitan crust of my pizza fantasies.


Enter 00 flour. While I’d seen it mentioned on Food Network a time or two, I never really gave much thought to trying it. How big of a difference could a finer ground flour make? The answer, ALL OF IT!

I purchased my first bag of 00 flour a few months ago and followed the recipe on the side of the package. I didn’t expect much, especially considering the short rising time they recommended. If I know anything about proper bread baking, it’s that a longer fermentation (aka rise) time, the better (crunchier.. chewier..) the outcome.


I went forth with my 00 experiment, and ended up being floored by the results. FINALLY I had achieved the Neapolitan style thin, crunchy crust that satisfied every pizza loving cell in my body! AND IT ONLY TOOK AN HOUR!!! Pizza gods rejoice! :D


Ingredients (organic, when possible):

  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) 00 flour
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (I use coconut sugar)
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups water (Cold water is fine)

Begin by mixing the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Slowly add water and mix to create a dough. I use my stand mixer with the dough attachment, but you could easily do this by hand if KNEAD be. (Sorry, I can’t not pun) ;)


Allow to rise for 15 minutes. Separate the dough into 4 equal portions. I like to weigh them out so they are all even, but you can always eyeball it. At this point, I put two of the dough balls into Ziploc bags and stick them straight in the freezer. (This dough freezes & thaws beautifully, so I like to always have a few frozen ones ready to go.) Allow the remaining 2 dough balls to rise for another 30 minutes. Set oven to 500 degrees F (or as hot as you can).

While they are rising, you can make my favorite marinara! Now, I know that traditionally Neapolitan pizzas use crushed tomatoes as the ‘sauce,’ but I prefer to use a homemade marinara. There’s really two reasons for this; 1: my boyfriend doesn’t like tomatoes when they are chunky, and 2: this marinara is soooo delicious I’ll use any excuse to eat it! :D


Ingredients (organic, if possible):

  • 1/4 large onion (any color), diced
  • 2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, diced
  • 12 pieces sundried tomatoes (in oil), diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Begin by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until translucent, then add the sundried tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the entire can of tomato paste, along with 2 cups of water. Mix well. At this point, I use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients. You could alternatively use a stand up blender. After the marinara is pureed, add the seasonings and mix well. You can now remove from heat and pour into a jar for storage. Keep on the counter until sauce reaches room temperature prior to refrigeration. Marinara will keep in the fridge for a week or so, or you can freeze it for long term storage.


Now that your dough has risen, oven’s preheated, and marinara has been made, you are ready to assemble your delicious pizzas! Stretch the dough to form a disc and place disc on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or pizza stone. Top evenly with your yummy marinara and add whatever cheeses and toppings your little heart desires. Bake at 500 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Enjoy!


I’ve made this pizza many times now, and it is a no fail, quick, and easy recipe to use! It would really shine in a pizza oven, as I’m still unable to get the charred crust that can only come from a proper wood-fired pizza oven. Maybe one day…. :)

Ciao for now!

No Soak 4 Hour Crock Pot Pinto Beans & Fat Free Vegan ‘Refried’ Beans

If you’ve ever cooked dry beans from scratch, you’ve probably heard the urban cooking legend that you must always soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Supposedly, soaking helps the texture of the beans and magically helps prevent flatulence. I’m here to tell you, this is simply not true. It’s a waste of time and serves absolutely no purpose. There’s no evidence that soaking beans improves texture, and it certainly doesn’t  decrease the gaseous properties (wishful thinking, perhaps?). In fact, soaking can actually reduce the flavor profile of the beans greatly. (Don’t buy it? Here is a more in depth article complete with foodie experiments.) So save your time and effort with this easy crock pot pinto bean recipe.


This recipe calls for pinto beans, however, you can really substitute any dry bean. Keep in mind though, other beans might have shorter cooking times (like garbanzo) or slightly longer (like Adzuki). The spices I recommend are traditional Tex-Mex spices, and work well whether you decide to keep the beans whole in their liquid or mash them to make ‘refried’ style beans. Feel free to switch up the spices to your liking!

No Soak 4 Hour Crock Pot Pinto Beans & Fat Free Vegan ‘Refried’ Beans

Ingredients, organic and local (when possible):

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs concentrated veggie stock (I love the organic Better Than Bouillon stock)
  • 6 cups filtered water


Add all ingredients to a large crock pot and cook on high heat for 4 hours. Check beans for doneness, they should be nice and tender, not overly soft.




At this point, you can add your Tex-Mex style spices and flavorings. I used:

  • 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

Now, remove beans from heat and separate into two different containers. I decided to keep half of the beans whole with their liquid, to use later in the week for one of my favorite dishes: pinto beans & cheese dumplings. I’ll share that recipe soon. :)


For the remaining half, I separated the beans from their liquid and smashed them with a potato masher. Add bean liquid as needed until you reach the desired texture. Wah-lah! Vegan fat free ‘refried’ beans!! Perfect for all your refried bean needs, including molletes, enchiladas, and of course, my ultimate comfort food: bean & cheese tacos! YUM!


Cooking dry beans in large batches like this can save you tons of money long-term. This recipe can also be cut in half or doubled per your cooking needs. Leftover beans can be kept refrigerated, frozen, or even canned for longer storage. I hope you enjoy this recipe and look forward to sharing more! :D

<3 Samantha, FCF







Vegan Red Kuri Squash & Pumpkin Quickbread and All Things Autumn.

At the risk of sounding like every other basic white girl in the Northern Hemisphere, I love autumn. Everything about it in fact. Every basic thing, like the changing colors of the leaves, the chill in the air, the ability to wear hoodies and hand knits. And of course, all things pumpkin + spice.

Rather than just run to the nearest Starbucks, I prefer to make my own pumpkin spice goodness. Already this season, I’ve baked a from-scratch pumpkin pie, made pumpkin spice smoothies, & of course, tried my hand at my very own PSL (pumpkin spice latte for you non-basic white girls). The following recipe is super fall festive, because not only does it contain our beloved pumpkin (and plenty of spice!), but I’ve added extra autumn oomph by including Red Kuri squash.


                             Red Kuri Squash & Pie Pumpkin Pictured with my Hand Dyed, Handspun Wool.

I’ve never eaten Red Kuri before, but I love trying new squash when I see them at the market. My boyfriend, an avid squash avoider, refuses to eat most of the squash I bring home. Unless, of course, I trick him into it. This recipe is another attempt in making my bf reform his views on certain squash. (I swear, I will never give up trying to make him a squash convert.) He gladly and willingly ate this quickbread and there were no complaints. Seems as long as I hide the squash in baked goods or mac’n’cheese, my man can be amenable. ;)

Vegan Red Kuri & Pumpkin Quickbread


This recipe was originally all pumpkin, I just added Red Kuri to try it out. You can always do this same process with a pie pumpkin instead of the squash. If you want to do ALL Red Kuri, I’d advise using 2 squash.

Ingredients (all organic & local, when possible):

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use unflavored, non-sweetened coconut milk)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 15 oz red kuri squash and/or pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • handful of sprouted pumpkin seeds (optional but awesome!)

First thing you’ll want to do is roast the squash & pumpkin. I do this by carefully cutting them in half and removing the seeds from inside. Scrape the inside clean with a spoon and rinse the seeds if you intend to roast them later. Coat both sides of the squash with oil and roast for about 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Allow the squash/pumpkin to cool and then scoop out the flesh.

redkuriraostpureeAdd the flesh and all liquid ingredients to your blender to puree for several seconds. Pour the liquid mixture into a bowl and add the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Pour into a bread pan (I line mine with parchment to make it easier to remove the bread after baking. Bonus, it keeps the pan clean, too!) and top with sprouted pumpkin seeds.

unbakedBake at 350 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing the parchment and cooling on a baker’s rack. When the bread is sufficiently cooled off, you can slice & enjoy!


Happy Fall, Y’all!

XO Samantha

Not Quite Traditional Vegan Kimchi & Other Forays into Fermenting

I’ve been on a fermented food kick lately. It started with pickles. I made a few batches several months ago and immediately noticed an increase in my energy when I ate them. After feeling really sluggish the past year or so, this instant pick-me-up left me wanting more. Next, I sought out a SCOBY to get back into continuous brewing kombucha. It’s been a couple years since I last brewed, and I am really not sure why I ever quit!


I’ve been on the booch for about 2 months now, and holy cow, I think this change is here for good! When I drink kombucha first thing in the morning (which is when my body craves it), I feel clear headed and energized. Better energy than I could ever get from coffee or some chemical energy drink. (Coffee makes me jittery, anxious, and panicky.. And I stopped drinking chemicals ages ago for health reasons. Mostly, I felt like they were going to make my heart explode!) Aside from this clean energy, I feel like I am digesting my food better and getting deeper sleep at night. The effects have been great and as a bonus, the taste is just delicious!

Since I’ve caught the fermenting bug again, I’ve joined various fermentation groups on Facebook. These groups are just awesome! It’s a place where a bunch of weirdo foodies like me can express our love and share our recipes of yummy aged concoctions! It’s fun and a little addicting. Thanks to these groups, I am dying to try my hand at brewing Jun (a fermented drink similar to kombucha, but it’s made with green tea and honey instead of black tea with sugar) and am anxiously awaiting the end of next month when my fermented honey garlic will be ready to eat!


One of my all-time favorite ferments is Korean kimchi. I love spicy foods and kimchi really fits the bill. However, traditional kimchi is not vegetarian (it usually contains either fish sauce or salted dried shrimp), so I typically have to make it myself. I don’t mind though, because it’s relatively simple to make and really worth the time & effort!

Not Quite Traditional Vegan Kimchi


All ingredients are organic & local (if possible).

  • 1 head Napa cabbage (You can really use any kind of cabbage. I love using red cabbage, too!)
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • filtered H2O

Chop the cabbage, place in a large bowl, and coat evenly with sea salt. Add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to sit at room temperature 24-48 hours. Drain and rinse cabbage well. Shake dry and add to a large bowl. Add the following ingredients:

  • 3 large daikon radishes (shredded, I used my food processor)
  • 6 rainbow carrots (2 of each color: red, orange, yellow; shredded)
  • 4 green onions (diced)
  • 1 sm yellow onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 inch knob of fresh garlic (minced)
  • 2 habanero peppers (sliced)
  • 3 tbs hot red pepper flakes
  • generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Chili Paste (prepared condiment from the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 2-3 tbs tamari
  • 1/4 cup filtered H2O
  • 2 tbs turbinado sugar

Traditional kimchi calls for a special Korean pepper called “Gochugaru.” Unfortunately, they did not have this at my health food store, and I was too impatient to order it online. Therefore, I substituted with the habanero/cayenne/red pepper flakes and the kimchi is lacking the traditional bright red coloring. Next time, I intend to use the proper Korean pepper flakes. ;)


You will want to wear gloves and use your hands to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pack mixture tightly into quart sized jars and make sure there is enough liquid on top to cover all of the ingredients. Leave at least 1 inch of head space at the top of each jar. You can now cover loosely with the lid or use an airlock device. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days minimum (I keep mine in a bowl or Tupperware in case of leakage). At 3 days, taste your kimchi. If you’d like it a bit more sour, you can leave it a couple more days at room temp. Otherwise, you can move it to your fridge and start eating it!

Aside from eating it straight from the jar, I love to eat kimchi in soup or atop Asian style noodles. It is also delicious in quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches (trust me on this). It’s also great on top of water crackers with goat cheese. However you decide to eat yours, I truly hope you enjoy it!! :D

Happy fermenting!

Avocado Superfood Lassi

I love avocados. There is no denying it. It’s odd that I am so ‘avocadobsessed’ since more than half of my life (thus far) I completely loathed the stoned fruit. I wriggled my nose when someone asked me if I wanted guacamole on my taco. I gagged when I saw people eating the green flesh with nothing but a spoon. (A delicacy to me now..) Avocados were nasty and I wanted abso-friggen-lutely NOTHING to do with them!


It’s funny how your taste buds change as you get older. Once distasteful fruits like avocado and tomato became loyal kitchen companions. Vegetables such as fennel, leeks, and onions that once insulted my palate, now provide me with much aromatic amusement. Foods I never thought I could enjoy (tempeh? algae? chia??) are now staples in my overflowing food storage. And I love it. :)

Today, I want to share with you a delicious use for your green-fleshed friends. One that you might have overlooked!


I love green smoothies, anyone that is friend’s with me on Facebook can tell you that. They’ve been a common breakfast staple for me for many years. They leave me vibrant and full of energy. When I drink them daily, I really notice a change in my vibration. My face is clear and dewy, my skin is elastic and well nourished.. I feel young, alive, and happy!!

My green smoothies all have a similar structure: Handful of greens, handful of fresh and/or frozen fruit, nut milk, superfood add-ins (like chia, hemp seeds, or spirulina), and lastly, something soft to “smooth” it all together! Most days, the ‘soft’ portion is fulfilled by the humble banana. It provides the perfect base for most of my smoothies. However, sometimes a girl wants to switch it up! That’s why this meal was created! :D

Avocado Superfood Lassi

A Lassi is a traditional Indian beverage containing yogurt. For a completely vegan version, you can omit the yogurt (or use a vegan version) & substitute maple syrup for the honey. ;)



  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 dollop organic yogurt (bonus points for local and/or homemade!)
  • Handful mixed greens (mine had baby kale, spinach, and chard)
  • 1 Tbs raw, local honey
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp fresh or ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • About 1 cup homemade coconut milk

Put all ingredients into a blender and give it a whirl. I use the NutriBullet and it is nothing short of amazing. Seriously just as good as a Vitamix for a fraction of the cost. If you’re poor like me, I highly recommend getting one. (And I’ve not been paid to endorse this product. I just really dig it!!)


This Lassi is so yummy! The avocado & yogurt make it the smoothest smoothie you’ll have ever tasted! And I can promise you, YOU CAN’T TASTE THE GREENS! ;)


Enjoy! xo

*This post has been shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Perfect Poolish Baguettes

Let me first start by stating the obvious. I haven’t written since April. APRIL! I seriously cannot believe how fast the months are flying by. Things in my life are changing at such a rapid pace, I can hardly keep up! There are many exciting things on the horizon and I simply cannot wait!!

Allow me to get you up to speed with what I’ve been doing in my reclusive, non-writing state. I was taught to loom knit on New Year’s Eve this year (err.. last year?) and since then I have grown quite addicted to it. I am either knitting, or thinking about knitting, the majority of my days. I am currently making some baby cocoons for a few dear friends that are pregnant. I just LOVE making baby stuff. It’s adorable and since it’s so small, it works up super quick. Loom knitting has definitely given me that creative, stress-relieving outlet I’ve longed for. Here are a handful of items I’ve made.


I have some hats available for sell on Etsy and will be adding more items as time goes by. If you’d like to request a custom order, or like what you see, feel free to contact me! :)

In addition to loom knitting like a fiend, I’ve been cooking and baking some amazing meals. Don’t worry, I have plenty of recipes and pictures to share! My most recent obsession is with bread, go figure. Do you know how incredibly EASY it is to make artisan French baguettes at home? I sure didn’t. But now I’m making them like a pro! I’ll never buy a store-bought baguette again!!

The process is time consuming, however, the actual hands on work is very minimal. You start with a pre-ferment, or starter. The French version is called a Poolish (named after the method of pre-fermentation brought by Polish bakers to France in the early 1900s), and that is what we will be using today. There are other types of pre-ferments, namely Biga (similar in form to Poolish but used in Italian baking) and the most common, sourdough. Let’s get started. :D

Perfect Poolish Baguettes


Adapted from a variety of sources, mostly here and here.

You need:

For the Poolish:

  • 1 cup quality, filtered water
  • 1 cup organic unbleached white flour (other types of flour can be substituted but let’s keep it simple for now)
  • a pinch of yeast (seriously, just a pinch!)

For the Baguettes:

  • Poolish
  • 2.5 cups flour (organic white, wheat, or a combination. I usually use 2 cups whole-wheat and .5 cup white)
  • 1/2 + 3 Tbs filtered water
  • 1 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp dry active yeast

The first thing you want to do is PLAN AHEAD. The pre-ferment must sit from 12-14 hours, so it’s best to plan things out. This is NOT a last minute bread. There is no way to speed this up. I like to make my Poolish the night before so it’s ready to get started in the AM. The rising time is also quite lengthy, so it’s best to start early!

Mix the ingredients for the Poolish and cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Set it somewhere it will not be disturbed for 12-14 hours. When it’s at it’s peak, it should look like this:


You’ll see some nice bubbles all throughout the mixture, and when you stir it, you’ll see the glutenous strands grabbing onto your spoon. It’s pretty neat stuff.

After 12 hours, add the Poolish to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the water to loosen it up and then add the dry ingredients. Mix WELL. You do NOT knead this bread. (Also, the dough will be quite wet. This is good.) Once it’s fully mixed, allow to rise, covered with a towel, for 2 hours. (If you’re short on time, you *can* allow just 1 hour.) After it’s risen, you want to do what’s called the “Stretch and Fold” method. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently stretch from either side. Then, you want to fold the dough onto itself. Do this three times, then put the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30-45 minutes, then stretch and fold again. Do this a total of 5 times. (Again, if you are running short on time, you can omit a few of these. However, you will be compromising the quality of the final product. It will still be delicious, don’t get me wrong, but time and patience are what really make this bread shine!)

After the final stretch and fold, it’s time to shape your baguettes. I watched several YouTube videos until I felt confident in my baguette shaping ability. Here are a couple of my favorites that were extremely helpful. Notice, in the first vid, she also shows you the Stretch and Fold method.


Who needs culinary school when you have the internet? Seriously. :)

Shape into 2 baguettes and allow to rise about 20-30 minutes. (I do this on a piece of parchment paper on my baking stone.) Also, preheat the oven to 450 degree F during this time. When the bread has just about doubled, it’s time to score the baguettes. Again, using YouTube videos, I learned the proper way to score them. (Turns out, I’d been doing it ALL WRONG! Also, I really need a scoring blade.) Definitely check out this video if you are unfamiliar.

King Arthur also has another excellent video:

The next step is optional, but vastly increases the quality of your baguettes. About 10 minutes before adding the bread to your oven, place an oven proof bowl or baking dish onto the bottom rack. Fill with water to create steam while baking. Place the baguettes on the top rack and bake for 25 minutes, or until deeply browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


Now slice and enjoy!


This bread is perfect for all your baguette needs. Bruschetta, molletes, banh mi, garlic bread.. or simply by itself with a bowl of homemade soup. Artisan French baguettes at home are the best. :)

Bon Appétit!

*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!




Grilled Tempeh & Veggie Fajitas w/ Homemade Cracked Black Pepper & Jalapeño Buttermilk Cheese

I’ve been slightly obsessed with simple homemade cheeses lately. It started with paneer, then ricotta, and now this easy buttermilk cheese. It’s hard to believe you can create amazing cheesy goodness with so few ingredients in such a short amount of time!


This buttermilk cheese is made with 3 simple ingredients and sets up in less than 20 minutes! I added diced pickled jalapenos and cracked black pepper to this cheese, but you can omit those or come up with a variety all your own. (I bet it would be fantastic with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Just sayin.) This cheese is also great plain, crumbled over a cracker and drizzled with some honey (as my sister and I ate Saturday! :) ). The best part of this cheese? It’s similar to Halloumi in that it grills beautifully. There’s nothing I love more than grilled cheese, of any variety!

Cracked Black Pepper and Jalapeño Buttermilk Cheese

You need:

  • 4 cups whole milk (hormone free, grass-fed, organic, raw – if possible)
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk (^again – if possible)
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbs diced pickled jalapenos (optional)
  • 1/2 tbs cracked black pepper (optional)
  • candy thermometer (if possible, if not you can eyeball it)


Add all ingredients to a large stock pot. Boil on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Side Note: Milk does not boil like water. Instead of rolling bubbles, you will know the milk is boiling when it gets nice and frothy.) If you have a candy thermometer, check to ensure the mixture reaches 180 degrees F. Don’t worry if you do not have a thermometer, as you will be able to see the curds and whey. After about 8 to 10 minutes, check the curds with a spoon. Pour into a cheesecloth-lined colander or strainer over a large bowl (or directly into the sink). Add the jalapenos and cracked black pepper and mix well.


Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, pull up each end of the cheesecloth. Twist and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. This is the whey. You can discard or save for other uses. (I’ve read people use this as a healthy addition to soups and sauces.) Once you squeeze out all the liquid you can manage, twist the cheesecloth and place cheese on the deepest plate you own. I like to layer all my other plates on top, but anything heavy will do. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and then allow to cool in the fridge. (If you’re in a hurry, you can even put the cheese in the fridge while it’s pressing, and it will be ready to use in 10 minutes flat!!)

cheesecollage2 Once cool, you can unwrap to see your beautiful cheese!!!! It’s great sliced, grilled, or crumbled on things. Which is why I made this spicy cheese to go with my grilled tempeh and veggie fajitas! :)


Grilled Tempeh & Veggie Fajitas 

You Need:

  • 1 package tempeh (I used The Hearty Vegan’s Texas Tempeh – it’s locally made and my absolute favorite!)
  • BBQ Marinade (I used Stubb’s Green Chile Marinade – also locally made and delicious!)
  • Fajita Veggies (Sliced Red & Green Bell Peppers, White Onion, & Mexican Squash)
  • Tortillas (Homemade or Ezekial Sprouted Whole Grain Grain)
  • Cracked Black Pepper & Jalapeno Buttermilk Cheese
  • Salsa Verde (I used a Central Market variety)
  • Simple Guacamole (3 avocados, mashed + juice 1 lime + pinch salt)


Marinate the tempeh and veggies 1 hour – overnight. The longer you allow the marinade to sink in, the better it will taste! Slice the tempeh into thin strips and marinate a bit longer while you grill your veggies. You can grill outside if the weather permits; I just used my new grill pan on the stove. (Did I mention my undying love for that thing yet?!) Grill veggies, tempeh, and cheese.


Now, mash 3 avocados with the juice of 1 lime and a pinch of salt. (A pastry cutter works great for this!) Set aside. Now you can assemble your fajitas! Warm up the tortillas, then pile on veggies, tempeh, & cheese. Top with salsa and guacamole (and a bit more crumbled cheese). Devour!


I hope you enjoy this recipe! Keep your eyes peeled as more cheese recipes (with even more recipes to utilize said cheese) are on their way! Until next time… :)



*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Chemical-Free Cocktail: 2 Part Organic Whiskey Sour (With Homemade Lemon-Lime Simple Syrup)

We live in a world full of chemicals, additives, and highly processed faux food and drink. I prefer to avoid as many of these unnecessary, and most likely dangerous, ingredients as often as I can. I consider myself an advocate for ‘real food’ and believe one of the most radical acts a person in our society can do is to take control of their food supply and purchases.


A lot of people think they are too busy for real food, thus relying on pre-made convenience products to fill the void. The problem with this is that processed foods contain hardly any nutrients and are high in sugars, fats, sodium, chemical additives, and GMOs. The popularity of processed and fast foods has resulted in a nation of severely obese and unhealthy residents. It’s a shame that corporations would rather compete for capital than care about their consumer’s health.

However, this is the world we currently live in, and all you can do is be as aware and proactive as possible. Become an avid label reader and try to source foods with the least amount of ingredients as possible. If you’re new to ‘real food,’ you might get overwhelmed at first. All your favorite foods now mock you with their 50+ ingredients lists and multiple forms of sugar. My advice is just to take it one day at a time, and do the best you can. It took me many years to fully remove processed foods from my diet, and I still use some organic pre-made condiments and such. (If you’re lucky enough to live in Texas, HEB has just released a new line of affordable organics! You can find jams, salad dressings, mustards, ketchup, and more with organic, real food ingredients! Thank you HEB!!)

Besides the grocery store, there’s another place many adults visit that is filled with processed sugars and unknown additives. A place you might have overlooked: The liquor store. While the liquor is usually safe (given you’re sticking with plain spirits and not artificially flavored concoctions..), the mixes and mix-ins often aren’t. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult to find pre-made drink mixes and so-called ‘simple’ syrups that don’t contain corn syrup, dyes, and/or chemicals.

That’s why I prefer to make my own. :)

2 Part Organic Whiskey Sour with Homemade Lemon-Lime Simple Syrup


Okay, I know what you’re thinking… That looks like THREE parts to me. But you’re wrong. The cherries don’t count because they are a garnish. They are also dye, preservative, & HFCS free!

For the cocktail:

  • 1-2 Shots Quality Whiskey (I use a Texas made brand, naturally.)
  • Organic Lemon-Lime Simple Syrup (Homemade, recipe below)
  • Ice & Cherries for Serving

For the Lemon-Lime Simple Syrup:

  • 5 organic lemons (or 1/2 cup juice)
  • 5 organic limes (or 1/2 cup juice)
  • 1 cup organic white sugar
  • 1 cup pure, filtered water


In a saucepan over medium heat, add sugar to water and whisk until dissolved. Add the citrus and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and allow to cool before use. (Unless you’re impatient like me. In that case, be prepared to use lots of ice.)

To make your cocktail, simply fill a glass with ice (whatever size – I won’t judge.) Add cherries and 1-2 shots of whiskey. Top off with your flavored simple syrup, stir, and get tipsy enjoy!



*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Devilishly Dark Chocolate & Fresh Ginger Bundt Cake w/ Pearlescent Blood Orange Glaze

I like big bundts and I cannot lie. Really, I can’t. So, when I discovered a large bundt pan (in PERFECT condition) among the many lovingly used kitchen items my sister gifted me, I was beyond excited. I needed to make a bundt cake RIGHT AWAY. (And I’ve been stuck on them ever since.) ;)

The first (of many) bundt cake recipes I’d like to share is my favorite of them to date. A delicious blend of dark, luxury French chocolate with just enough spice from freshly grated ginger. You know how I’m obsessed with ginger. If not, just stick around my blog long enough, and you’ll find out.

For the glaze, I used a succulent blood orange, zest and all. Some icing sugar and a bit of coconut oil created a perfectly smooth, and surprisingly pearlescent, topping. Oh, and it’s PINK!!! <3 <3 <3


Devilishly Dark Chocolate & Fresh Ginger Bundt Cake

w/ Pearlescent Blood Orange Glaze


  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa (it was kinda pricey at Central Market, but soo worth it!!)
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 9 tbs coconut oil (in solid state)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps fresh ginger (peeled & grated)


  • 1/2 blood orange (juice and zest)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil (melted)
  • 1-2 cups icing sugar (or enough to create a thick glaze)

(I just winged the glaze. Those measurements are ‘guesstimates.’)


Sift the dry cake ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into your beautiful bundt pan (that’s been rubbed down with coconut oil). Bake in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees F, for 35-45 minutes. I like to leave mine a little under-done, so that it remains nice and moist for days after.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes. Then, flip your pan onto a cooling rack and let the cake rest another 15 minutes (at least!). While you’re patiently waiting, you can assemble the glaze. Simply blend the listed ingredients until smooth. You can place in the refrigerator to thicken up a bit, if necessary. Pour onto your cooled cake and enjoy!


I hope you love this delicious cake as much as we did! I’ll see you when baby gets back. ;)


*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!


One Quick Dough, Two Delicious Ways: Navajo Fry Bread Tacos + Pita Pockets & Spicy Hummus!

Wow. It’s been quite the hiatus. I’m sorry I’ve neglected the blog for so long. I’ve been through a whirl-wind of emotions over the past few months and I can’t even begin to explain. So I won’t. Not yet. Instead, I have some exciting and easy recipes to share!


First off, I’ve been DYING to try Navajo Fry Bread Tacos after stumbling upon their image on Pinterest. If you aren’t aware of their deliciousness, let me just give you the low-down: Fried, puffy dough piled high with all your favorite taco fillings. Don’t be fooled by the name, though. You’ll be eating this puppy with a fork and knife!

It was late Saturday night, I required something quick and easy to appease a hungry, video-game-playing boyfriend. Navajo Fry Bread called my name. I didn’t realize how easy they would be. But about half an hour later, we were basking in (and stuffing our faces with) their glory.


For the dough, I used this recipe as a guideline. I tweaked it to suit my needs.

Navajo Fry Bread/Pita Pocket Dough:

  • 4 cups flour (I used 3 AP, 1 white wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (cut in)
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1 cup filtered water (more or less, depending)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a bowl. Cut in the coconut oil using a wire whisk. Add the 2 tbs milk (I actually subbed water because I only had date-sweetened vanilla cashew milk on hand!) and enough water to form a soft dough. Knead briefly and let rest for about 15 minutes. While you wait, you can assemble your toppings.

For the filling in the taco above, I used 2 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausage links (cooked and crumbled), 1 cup pinto beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, chili powder, garlic & onion powders, salt, and pepper. This was a delicious chili-like filling that I’m sure to use again in a variety of ways. It would be perfect atop some homemade Frito’s for a great from-scratch Chili Pie. Or poured over a seitan chili-cheese dog or homemade fries. Mmmmm.. Where was I? Right, the dough is ready now.

Heat your favorite frying oil (about 1/2-1 inch thick) in a shallow pan. Stretch your dough, or roll it out if you’re not lazy like I was. Either way you do it, the dough’s going to bubble up when fried. Carefully place the flattened dough in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Flip and fry the other side another few minutes til brown. Remove with tongs and drain on a paper-towel lined plate.

Now, top the bread with a layer of the chili taco filling. Cover with your favorite cheese (I used an aged Havarti). Place in a pre-heated oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted. Then add fresh veggies of your choice. I wish I was better prepared, because this taco is CRYING for some homemade guac and sour cream. Nonetheless, super delicious and oh-so-easy!

(I will post more pics next time I make this dish. I only snapped the one before devouring!!)

I’m a huge fan of re-purposing, especially when it comes to food! I hate wasting, so the more uses I can find for leftovers, the better. After the Phenomenal Fry Bread Experience that was Saturday night, I again found myself needing something super quick for dinner on Sunday.

I had started a batch of homemade tahini (recipe below) in anticipation for the best hummus ever. I’ve made hummus in the past, but up til now, I used sub-par food processors and never bothered with the tahini (I was always too cheap to buy it! LOL), so it never turned out quite right. Now that I was gifted an AWESOME Cuisinart food processor (thank you again!), I can do things like make awesome hummus with homemade (and cheap!) tahini.


Homemade Hummus:

  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 1/2 small lemons (juiced)
  • One-time tahini (recipe below)
  • A few dashes of white wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin
  • Enough oil to make a smooth consistency (I used grapeseed)
  • Hot Chili Sauce & Paprika for presentation

One-Time Tahini:

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (toasted)
  • Pinch of pink salt
  • Enough oil to create a smooth paste (I used grapeseed)

In your fancy food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and salt. Pulverize and gradually add enough oil to create a smooth paste. Now, add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, and vinegar, pulverize again. While the machine is running, drizzle enough oil to make your hummus as thick or creamy as you’d like. Add seasonings to your liking. Now you can pour into a serving dish. I made a little well in the middle and poured in some hot chili sauce. Sprinkle with paprika.

I was so impressed with the way the hummus turned out, I decided we needed to eat it IMMEDIATELY! I pulled the leftover dough from the fry bread and rolled it into four flat disks. I baked these at 400 degrees (F) for about 10 minutes (until light brown) and lo-and-behold, they puffed up JUST LIKE PITA! I did a little happy dance in my kitchen as I cut into the first one:


Hello, Perfect Pita Pocket!! ^_^

I quickly cut into triangles and the non-stop dipping commenced.

I was thoroughly impressed at the versatility of this quick-bread recipe. Whether you fry it up or bake it, it’s definitely a great one to have on hand for hectic days. I hope you enjoy!

See you soon. I promise. ;)

*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!


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