New Mexico

To be honest with you, I didn’t think I was going to like New Mexico. I am a person who actively seeks out water. The closer I am to a beach, the happier I am. I couldn’t imagine liking a place where it’s generally dry and dusty.

Then I got to Santa Fe. My friend Stephanie invited me down for a week to stay with her at her parents’ house. I rented a car in Albuquerque and drove an hour north. I was so concentrated on the road, I didn’t notice my surroundings.

When I got to her parents’ house, I looked out from their patio and I couldn’t believe the beauty in front of me. I saw mountains in the distance, beautiful clouds, and striking colors like turquoise and green against the red-orange ground. I immediately understood why Santa Fe is known as an artists’ community. You don’t have to look far for inspiration.

The desert has a quiet beauty. It’s not like waves crashing against seaside rocks or a river churning between trees in a lush forest. It’s much more straightforward, but at the same time, it has its secrets. It reveals them to you in time, if you’re patient enough to look.

My first few hours in Santa Fe, I met a woman who worked at a store in town. She told me that Santa Fe is a healing place. After spending a week there, I believe her. The peaceful tranquility of the desert seemed to loosen me up everyday, until by the end, I couldn’t feel any more stress knots in my neck and shoulders. More importantly, it quieted my mind.

I also ate extremely well, which didn’t hurt the process. Eating a truly good meal is a transcendent experience. I’m lucky that I had so many of them in New Mexico.

Here are a few of the highlights from my trip. It’s not an exhaustive list; I left some important places out because I didn’t get pictures of the food or the destination. These are the places that made the biggest impression on me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

Dale Ball Trails

There are so many good hikes in Santa Fe, but I chose Dale Ball Trails for a few reasons. First, it got overwhelmingly good reviews online and people said it was fairly easy. Two, the views looked incredible. Three, people also said it was a fairly populated trail, which is good when you’re a woman hiking alone. The reviews weren’t wrong; it was a gorgeous and simple trail that winded around a mountain. I loved seeing the desert flora and fauna. I’d recommend the trail to anyone looking for a good starter hike in Santa Fe.

Downtown Santa Fe

Downtown Santa Fe is very touristy, but it also has cute shops that are fun to peruse. My favorite was The Shop – A Christmas Store, which is pictured above. It was just so random and unexpected that it charmed me instantly. Plus, I love Christmas ornaments, so it was really my ideal shop. The guy at the counter told me the store has been in his family for more than 40 years.

Canyon Road

Canyon Road is the place in Santa Fe to go if you’re looking for art, jewelry, or vintage items. You can walk down either side of the street and pop into different shops. There’s art displayed on every corner and sidewalk. I liked browsing the galleries. I had lunch at The Teahouse, which has a beautiful patio that’s fun to sit on when it’s nice outside. Order the egg benedict and choose from a large selection of tea. I got mine iced because it was on the hotter side that day.

Sage Bakehouse

I read some good things about Sage Bakehouse before I visited Santa Fe, and they were confirmed when I stopped in for breakfast my first morning. The service at the counter was warm and friendly, and the pastries were delicious. I’d highly recommend the pecan braid (pictured top right). It hits the spot with a cup of coffee.

Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf really defies description. Picture a modern art gallery, interactive museum, and haunted house rolled into one, and you’ll get somewhere close to this place. At first I hated it because it was crowded and I’m still nervous about COVID/germs, but then I started to stray from the crowd and went at my own pace, and I liked it more. I’ve never been anywhere like it. I heard a man tell his wife that it feels like one long acid trip. Yes, sir.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa was one my favorite places I visited in Santa Fe. They’re known for their authentic drinking chocolate. I ordered a small cup of the chili drinking chocolate and I was in heaven. It was so rich and delicious, but also light enough where I didn’t feel bogged down like I sometimes do after drinking regular hot chocolate. Two days later I went back and got a large cup, and I got a box of homemade truffles to take back to Jim. Needless to say, we finished that box in a day when I got home.

Dolina Bakery & Cafe

I went to get pastries from Dolina early on in my trip. I didn’t realize it was essentially an Eastern European bakery. When I walked through the door, I saw tons of items in their pastry case that are familiar to me as a Jewish person with Eastern European origins. They had different delicacies from Poland, Hungary, and other countries. I didn’t get to try their sit-down breakfast, but I want to next time I’m in town. Beware of parking, though: It’s really difficult and you will probably have to go in a lot in the back of the bakery. I tried to park in an unmarked spot out front and got yelled at by the dry cleaners next door. Not very sweet of them…but at least I got pastries in the end.

Museum of International Folk Art

I was a little wary of the Museum of International Folk Art because I’m more of an explore-as-you-go type of person when I travel. I like museums, but they’re not always my first choice. However, I’d recommend this museum to anyone. It’s so colorful and thought provoking. There was an exhibit with folk art related to COVID-19 that I really liked. I also loved the room in the back with miniature scenes from different countries and cultures.

Prescott Gallery and Sculpture Garden

I read about Prescott Gallery and Sculpture Garden before I came to Santa Fe, and I knew immediately that I had to visit. It did not disappoint. It’s basically a long, one-story gallery filled with different moving sculptures depicting famous locations, and an outdoor sculpture garden you can walk through and see different sculptures of plants and animals. The people who run the gallery are friendly and gave me a water bottle, probably because I looked hot and dehydrated. I love that kind of personal attention when I travel.

Harry’s Roadhouse

When I was at Meow Wolf, a stranger came up to me when I was eating tacos at the food truck outside and struck up a conversation, and told me about Harry’s Roadhouse. I looked up the menu and decided to go for lunch a few days later. Honestly, it was the best lunch I had in Santa Fe. The stacked turkey enchiladas were divine, and my server was so nice and attentive. It’s one of those places that it perfect for single diners because people are nice and friendly, and you can sit on the patio outside, so you don’t feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a crowded dining room.

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Going to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was a must for me during my trip. I also wanted to go see her ranch, but I think it was shut for COVID. Anyway, the museum was amazing and I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting Santa Fe. You get to rid about her life and art, and see many of her works including the cloud painting pictured above. I didn’t realize she painted pictures based on her views from airplanes.

Ten Thousand Waves

Ten Thousand Waves was definitely a highlight of my New Mexico trip. My friend Stephanie suggested that we go to the spa and rent a room, pictured above. It was so nice to be able to relax in the hot tub and sauna. I also liked that plunge bath on the far right and the outdoor shower. Then, a couple nights later, we went back to the restaurant there, Izanami, for dinner. Every dish was better than the one before it.

Santa Fe River

Although I’m sure no one would tell you to run to see the Santa Fe River, I would recommend stopping by if you’re in town. It was one of the more unexpected things I found during my trip. No, it’s not the Mississippi, not by a long shot. But it is beautiful in its own way and very peaceful. There’s a walking path along it so you can explore or just side beside it and relax and read.

Clafoutis

I celebrate Bastille Day by picking up lunch and a strawberry tart from Clafoutis, arguably the best French bakery in Santa Fe. One of the saleswomen at a shop I went to my first day recommended it, and I’m so glad she did. The strawberry tart was excellent. It reminded me of the days I would stop at the bakery in Paris for lunch.

Arable

If you’re looking for farm-to-table fare for dinner, definitely stop at Arable. The restaurant, which is a short drive away from downtown Santa Fe, has delicious dishes crafted with the freshest ingredients. Stephanie and I enjoyed everything, but some of my favorites were the wedge salad with bacon, jalapeño cornbread, and green chile cheese tots.

Madrid

Madrid is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s a small down about 40 minutes south of downtown Santa Fe. You could miss it if you blinked, but you probably won’t blink because it’s so colorful and unusual. It’s an artists’ haven in the desert, and it has tons of personality. There are so many galleries, eateries, and shops to explore, but I would recommend The Mine Shaft Tavern for lunch (get the green chile burger), Java Junction for coffee and pastries, and Shugarman’s for homemade chocolate.

Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more recommendations!

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Lemon Lavender Scones

Last weekend, Jim and I went to Long Row Lavender in Wright City, MO. It’s a cute little farm halfway between St. Louis and Columbia where you can pick your own lavender, take a stroll around the farm, and even get breakfast or lunch.

We had a great time picking lavender. We got there early and it was already crowded, but the rows are well spaced out and there’s plenty of lavender for everywhere. Also, we lucked out because the day before it was humid and more than 100 degrees F, but the morning we went, it was breezy and not so much like an oven.

My favorite things to do with lavender are put it in baked goods and lemonade. I started the weekend by making a lavender lemonade, and then Monday, I made these lemon lavender scones.

I riffed on a recipe I made a few years ago when I first made lavender scones. It’s funny looking back because the last time I made them was around the same time in 2017, when I bought a bunch of lavender at the Lake St. Louis Farmers’ Market. I made scones for me and Jim to take on our first date, an all-day fishing trip where I pretended like I wasn’t fazed by walking up and down a river for eight hours and ended up face planting on the way back. The face plant part actually felt great, though.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that you should make these scones immediately. They’re almost more like biscuits than scones because they’re so buttery and flaky. They’re also not too sweet, so you can feel really good about sprinkling extra sugar on top before you pop them in the oven to bake.

I ate some for three mornings straight for breakfast with a cup of coffee. I gave some to my old colleagues and got an email from one with the subject line, “OH MY GOSH!!” so that pretty much says it all.

Here’s a song to get you started on your lemon lavender scone journey.

Lemon Lavender Scones

Ingredients

2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1¼ cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp lavender buds, plus more for topping
zest of one lemon
turbinado sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk the baking powder, baking soda, salt. and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the butter and mix until it’s coated. Then, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to break the butter up until it’s in pea-sized pieces.

Make a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and add the egg, cream, lemon zest, honey, and lavender. Mix slowly with a paddle attachment until a shaggy dough forms. Do not overmix. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead it a few times of a floured surface until it comes together.

Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick round and then cut it into 8 equal triangles. Brush each scone with cream or milk, sprinkle generously with sugar, and sprinkle more lavender buds on top. Place the scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Frittata

I’m not going to lie to you; I was a little apprehensive while creating this cauliflower frittata. I’ve only grown to love cauliflower over the past few years, when I learned that adding spice and heat can turn a very bland vegetable into a recipe superstar. I’ve never used it in an egg dish, mostly because I didn’t think eggs and cauliflower went together.

I was wrong. Cauliflower is like potato’s lighter cousin in this dish. It’s very subtle but still adds texture and flavor. Especially when paired with the onions, it’s a power player that I would never substitute for another vegetable.

The key to this dish is cooking the cauliflower and onion low and somewhat slow. It will result in fork-tender cauliflower and soft, juicy onions that almost taste caramelized. After you’ve cooked your onion and cauliflower, you add your egg mixture, pop the skillet in the oven, and cook until the frittata is mostly set and golden brown.

If you’re not a fan of Gruyère cheese, you could always sub in another kind, but I’d recommend giving it a try. I like the way the sharp flavor of the Gruyère pairs with the more mellow cauliflower.

Also, it would probably be best to serve this frittata with a salad. I finally harvested some greens from my garden last night, so we had an extra fresh salad with dinner.

Here’s a song to get you started on your cauliflower frittata journey.

Cauliflower Frittata

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium cauliflower, finely chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) room temp water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
9 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
4 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Directions

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F with a rack in the middle. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe skillet (I used cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, onions, water, a generous pinch of salt, and a smaller pinch of black pepper. Stir together. Cover the skillet and cook for about 14 minutes, and then cook uncovered for two minutes if the water hasn’t evaporated yet.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Stir in the cheese and parsley. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with your cauliflower and onions, making sure that the eggs are evenly distributed. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the frittata is mostly set and golden brown on top. Enjoy!

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Shrimp and Orzo

This post goes out to my friend Julicia, who asked me to share the recipe for shrimp and orzo a few weeks ago and had to suffer from my procrastination.

This one-pot shrimp and orzo is one of the best dinners I’ve made recently. It’s so easy, yet so delicious. I don’t know why I said “yet,” because in my experience, some of the simplest dishes are the most delicious.

The shrimp and orzo gets a big upgrade with from fresh parsley and lemon. Also, it helps to find the freshest shrimp possible. When you have good, fresh ingredients, you don’t need much else.

If you’re not an orzo fan, you could sub in rice, but I’d highly recommend that you give orzo a try. I love the texture, and it pairs well with the shrimp and herbs.

Here’s a song to get you started on your shrimp and orzo journey.

Shrimp and Orzo

Ingredients
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup orzo
2 Tbsp salted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions


Combine the shrimp, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to marinate.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the orzo and toss to coat. Stir the orzo frequently until it turns golden brown. Then add the second round of minced garlic and mix until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the orzo has absorbed all the liquid.

Once the liquid is gone, mix in the shrimp and cover the pot again. Cook for about another six minutes, or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Enjoy!

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How to Use Puff Pastry

When I post pictures on Instagram of puff pastry tarts I make, I always get a friend or two who texts me and says, “I can’t believe you made that.” I also talk to friends who are scared of puff pastry and don’t think they can make anything with it at home.

I have a secret for you: You absolutely can. I use frozen puff pastry and it works every time. Puff pastry is one of the simplest ingredients to bake with. It is so easy, but it yields creations that look like you spent hours in the kitchen or years at culinary school.

The trick to puff pastry is to invest in a really good product. I usually buy Dufour from the frozen aisle at Whole Foods. It’s very high quality at a reasonable price point. You might say, um, how is $12 reasonable for a frozen product? That’s fair, but you’re paying for quality. Dufour’s puff pastry is lightly, flaky, and perfectly buttery. It’s basically as close as you can get to the puff pastry that pastry chefs make.

If you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash, you could also try Trader Joe’s frozen puff pastry. I’ve used that a few times and it’s still good, just not quite as good as Dufour.

The next trick to using puff pastry is to let it defrost appropriately. NEVER, and I mean never, let puff pastry defrost at room temp. You will be left with a soggy crust that’s gummy and inflexible. Instead, the night before you’re planning on using puff pastry, put it in the fridge. Let it sit there until you’re ready to use it the next day. The Dufour box says to let the crust defrost for three to four hours, but I like to let it defrost longer than that because sometimes, depending on how cold your fridge is, three hours isn’t enough.

When you’re ready to use the puff pastry, remove it from the box and place it on a lightly floured counter or work surface. Generally, you’ll have to unfold the pastry because it comes wrapped and folded up. Be very gentle when you’re unfolding it because it could rip.

Once the puff pastry is on the counter, you can spread whatever you like on top and put on fruit, veggies, etc. It’s really a blank canvas. I made this Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart from New York Times Cooking earlier this week, and all I had to do once I unfolded my puff pastry was spread some custard on top, arrange asparagus, score the edges with a knife, and stick it in the oven.

Occasionally you’ll run across a recipe that asks for the puff pastry crust to be a bit longer and wider. It comes in a 13-by-11-inch rectangle, which is usually big enough, but depending on what you’re making, you might have to roll it out. Proceed the same way you would with a a pie crust, rolling it out on a lightly floured surface, but just make sure you don’t put too much pressure on the puff pastry with the rolling pin. That’s how it will start to spread too thin and rip.

A couple last pieces of advice: Generally, it’s good to score the tart before you bake it. You can do it around the edges using the tip of a sharp knife, or sometimes you can lightly score the bottom of the tart before you put on the topping. Just make sure there’s a way for some air to get out while the pastry, well, puffs.

Second, once the tart comes out of the oven, let it deflate for about 15 minutes. Don’t try to force it down with a kitchen utensil, even if you’re really impatient or hungry. Like many great things, puff pastry requires time and patience.

Here are some of my favorite recipes with puff pastry. Also, here’s a song to get you started on your puff pastry journey. Enjoy!:

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Fresh Strawberry Buttermilk Scones

Well…hi! I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past few months. The answer is, I’ve been here, but unfortunately, my kitchen has not.

Or maybe fortunately because now, it’s brand new and better than ever. My boyfriend Jim and I decided to renovate the kitchen last year after we both got sick of the old one. I picked everything out, we finally got the installer to come at the end of February, and this week, the last coat of paint went on. Here are before and after pics:

It’s pretty crazy to think about how far the kitchen has come. Right now, I’m savoring every minute. Everything is beautiful and new, but best of all, it’s functional, so I don’t feel like I’m cooking or baking in a cramped space.

Which brings me to these fresh strawberry buttermilk scones. They’re not the first thing I baked in my new kitchen; I actually made my oatmeal chocolate chip cherry cookies because they’re my go-to, and I like to have a batch in the freezer to bake at any time. But these scones are the second thing I baked, AND they’re a new creation…so I guess they’re right at home in the new kitchen.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love strawberries. I wait for strawberry season the way children wait for Christmas. I go to the farmers’ market every Saturday in April and May, hoping that I see the elusive berries. Last weekend, I finally saw a pint of strawberries and I could barely contain my excitement. I bought two and made these strawberry buttermilk scones.

A lot of scone recipes call for heavy cream in the batter, which is great. The cream produces a soft, pillowy scone, kind of like cake. They’re the kind most people are used to eating. But using buttermilk produces a whole different scone that’s craggy and imperfect on the outside, but tender on the inside. There’s also a slightly tangy flavor, which pairs well with sweet berries and sugar.

These scones are my new go-to breakfast item. The recipe is easy and you can sub in any fruit you like or that’s in season. I like to have mine with a cup of coffee in the morning, but they’re also good anytime…just ask Jim, or the trail of crumbs that appeared around the house throughout the day as he ate them.

Here’s a song to get you started on your fresh strawberry scone journey.

Fresh Strawberry Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients

360 g all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Large pinch of salt
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp (80g) granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
170 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and frozen
225 g fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Scatter the butter cubes on top and use your hands or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture. When you’re done, the butter should be in pieces the size of small peas and beans.

Make a hole in the dry ingredients and add the lemon zest, buttermilk, and vanilla paste. Use your hands or a spatula to mix until the ingredients barely come together. *Do not* overmix. Add the strawberries and mix again lightly to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times until it comes together. Pat the dough into a circle that’s about 2 inches high. Cut the circle into triangles. Place the triangles on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake the scones for 25-30 minutes until they’re golden on top and firm to the touch. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then the rest of the way on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Doughnuts

I’ve been on a roll with baked doughnuts lately. I think they’re my new creative medium for 2021.

The thing that I love about doughnuts is, they’re basically a blank canvas and you can do whatever you want to them. You can dip them in chocolate, glaze them with icing, put fruit or nuts in them, or, in this case, throw a bunch of poppyseeds in.

Lemon poppyseed is one of my favorite combinations because it’s bright, fun, and delicious. These doughnuts have *a lot* of lemon, to the point where your sour tastebuds activate when you take a bite. But that’s okay, because the doughnuts also subtly sweet, light, and pillowy, so the other flavors and textures balance out the zest.

You would never be able to tell that these doughnuts are vegan. Honestly, that’s how I judge a lot of vegan food. Can I tell that this is vegan? If the answer is no, that gives it high marks.

If you don’t have any almond or plant-based milk on hand, though, you can always sub in some dairy milk. I bet they would be just as delicious, but they may have a slightly different texture.

I ate two of these for breakfast and a third with tea for dessert after lunch. I can’t wait to have some more tomorrow. They’re great with a big cup of coffee.

Here’s a song to get you started on your lemon poppyseed doughnut journey.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Doughnuts

Ingredients

for the doughnuts:
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1 1/3 cups almond milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup avocado oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1–2 Tbsp almond milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp poppyseeds

Directions

Grease two 6-cavity doughnut pans and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppyseeds in a medium bowl. Mix the almond milk, lemon juice, avocado oil, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Use a piping bag or a plastic bag with a tip cut off to pipe the batter into the prepared doughnut pans. Fill them most of the way to the top, then bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes until the tops spring back to the touch. Let them cool completely.

While they’re cooling, make the icing. Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. When the doughnuts are cool, dip them in the icing and then let them set for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins

There were three very sad, brown-spotted bananas on my counter this morning. So I decided to make these gluten-free banana nut muffins for breakfast.

Plus, I’m a firm believer that when the temperature dips below freezing (say, one degree F) and it’s a winter storm outside, AND it’s Monday, you deserve a home-baked breakfast. I slept in a little, and then I got up and started making these muffins.

My favorite part about these muffins is the texture. They’re light and fluffy, but also substantial with a hearty crumb. That happens in part because of the hazelnut flour, which is light but also rich and nutty.

The chopped walnuts also play their part and add a buttery texture. The walnuts combined with the honey, hazelnut and almond flour, and whole milk, create a muffin that’s decadent and healthy. You’ll want to eat them throughout the day. I just had two for breakfast, and I’m eyeing a third.

Here’s a song to get you started on your gluten-free banana nut muffin journey.

Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup hazelnut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raw honey
3 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
flax seeds and hemp hearts for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin and set aside.

Whisk together the almond flour, hazelnut flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mash the bananas and then mix in the vanilla extract, honey, milk, and eggs until well combined. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Use a spatula to fold in the chopped walnuts. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each space to the top. Sprinkle the tops with flax seeds and hemp hearts.

Bake the muffins for about 28 minutes, or until the tops spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool for 15 minutes before you eat them. Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier in the new year. I still have double chocolate chunk cookies every other day and make my weekly bakery trips, but at least once a week, I try to make something healthy for breakfast that will last for a few days, so I can eat well without much effort in the morning throughout the week.

These whole wheat blueberry muffins check all the boxes. They’re easy to make; they hold up well in the fridge for several days; they’re healthy; and they’re delicious. I made them for brunch on Sunday and I’ve had two for breakfast every morning since. I take them out of their silicone molds and warm them up in the microwave for 30 seconds at medium power, and it’s like they just came out of the oven.

If you have a little more time and want a really fresh tasting muffin, though, you could always freeze a bunch and then warm them up in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. I’d give them about 10 minutes, but you can check them and see if they’re warm enough to your liking.

These muffins are delicious on their own, but they’d also be good with some butter and jam. I like to pair mine with a strong cup of coffee.

I used frozen wild blueberries in this recipe and they worked great. But if you have fresh blueberries, you could definitely sub them in. I’m sure they would be just as delicious, if not more. However, I really liked the wild blueberries because they tend to be smaller than fresh ones from the grocery store, and they pack more flavor.

Here’s a song to get you started on your blueberry muffin journey.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I bet vanilla almond milk would also be great)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen wild blueberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a nine-cup muffin tin with silicone or paper liners, or just spray it really well with cooking spray.

Whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, quick oats, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the maple syrup and avocado oil until well combined. Add the almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix together. Change the mixer attachment to the paddle, then slowly and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together until just combined. Fold in the frozen blueberries.

Fill the prepared muffin tin with the batter. I like to use a small ice cream scoop because it portions the batter well, and generally makes less mess.

Bake the muffins for five minutes, then lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes. You may need to bake them a few minutes more after that; check and make sure the tops spring back to the touch. That’s how you’ll know they’re done.

Allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for five minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Leftovers keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Spinach, Egg, and Chorizo Breakfast Burritos

Every Sunday I make brunch for myself and Jim. I usually go the sweet route because I have a *huge* sweet tooth, and the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the promise of pastries. However, after my holiday sugar overload, I’ve decided to try out some savory menu items.

Cue: this spinach, egg, and chorizo burrito. It’s so good that it made me temporarily forget about sweet food. I’m going to have it on rotation now for brunch every month.

The star of this show is chorizo. I’ve always loved chorizo, especially in tacos, but it also pairs well with eggs and other breakfast-y foods. It’s spicy and crumbly, and it adds texture to a wrap or sandwich.

My other favorite part about this recipe is it essentially comes together in one skillet. You sauté the chorizo, then you scoop it out and place it in another bowl while you use the same skillet to sauté spinach and scramble eggs. Throw the chorizo, eggs, and spinach in a large tortilla with salsa and cheddar cheese, and you have a filling and delicious brunch.

Feel free to get creative with your fillings. I might try a version next time with tomatillo salsa, cheddar, and onions because that reminds me of a bagel sandwich I used to get for breakfast every Sunday in D.C.

Here’s a song to get you started on your breakfast burrito journey.

Spinach, Egg, and Chorizo Breakfast Burrito

Ingredients

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bulk chorizo sausage
2-3 oz baby spinach
5 large eggs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
burrito-size flour tortillas
shredded sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salsa of your choice

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and use the back of a wooden spoon to break it up into little pieces. Cook the chorizo, stirring as you go, for about eight minutes or until it’s cooked thoroughly. Remove all the chorizo from the pan and place it in a bowl, and set it aside for later.

Whisk the eggs together in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Put the same skillet over medium heat and add the spinach, stirring every so often until it wilts. Once it’s wilted, add the eggs and stir constantly until they’re almost cooked through. You want them slightly runny because they’ll continue to cook when you remove them from the pan. Remove the eggs and spinach from the pan and place in another bowl.

Heat the tortillas for a few seconds on each side over an open flame on a gas stove, or you can warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Transfer the burrito shell to the counter and fill with chorizo, eggs and spinach, and cheddar and salsa. Roll it up (here’s a great tutorial) and place on a plate. Enjoy!

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