newsletter coming your way 

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I’ve decided to jump on the newsletter bandwagon while I figure out how best to use this space. It’s been about 99.9% food and although I do spend A LOT of time in the kitchen, there are other things – knittings things, planning things, taking pictures of things, reading things, business things, homeschooling things, pretty things, and I even get riled up about some things.

First newsletter will go out at the top of the month. Will figure out if I have the oomph for more frequency as we go along.

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veggie meal plan – august 22, 2017

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meal planning


Taking my cues from some magazines this week in hopes of expanding the weeknight repertoire. Rest of our meals will be rounded out by the french lentils and quinoa stocked in the fridge.

Soba, Cuke & Soft Tofu Bowls**
Hoisan Eggplant with Mushrooms & Tofu***
13yo’s choice (’cause birthday)

Ratatouille & Egg Toast***
Huevos Cuahtemoc
Hearty Pancakes*
Savory Cornmeal Crepes with Greens and Zucchini

Cucumber Sandwiches with Toasted-Hazelnut Cream Cheese**
Mixed Cucumber & Cured Olive Salad**
Homemade Graham Crackers
Tres Leches Cake (’cause birthday)

* Sift Magazine, Spring 2017
** Short Stack Vol. 28: Cucumbers
*** Short Stack Vol. 22: Eggplant

weekend ingredient prep for easier weekday meals

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meal planning

I know it is already Monday and this particular ship has sailed, but hoping that this can be of help as the weekend approaches. Batch-cooking is a crazy crazy world and although I’ve never been a fan of the massive amounts of work that live beneath hashtag-batchcooking, I have come to incorporate a bit of this mentality into my weekend meal prep.

I cook up largish portions of legumes and grains over the weekend and try to get ahead of veggie prep to make meal “assembly” a little faster during the week.

FKKG8754 Read More

meal plan – august 14, 2017

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Happy middle of August, everyone! My CSA stash is screaming Texas summer this week – okra, eggplant, peppers, squash – so the bulk of my meals will focus on using all that up. Potatoes and carrots and beets will work their way in as snacks or hold up in storage for use next week.

I also made my way to the downtown library one last time to visit the cookbook stacks ahead of the closing of the third floor. Austin is getting a shiny new library in October and books from the non-fiction collection (3rd floor) will be in transition until then. Lots of inspiration from that last haul in this week’s meal plan. Link to books at bottom of post. Read More

celeriac suggestions?

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cooking in season

celery root |

Wondering if any of you out there have done something particularly exciting with celery root. Most recipes call for making purees or involve mashing it into another starch. I dice it finely into risotto pretty much every time it lands in my CSA box. There must be more. What do you do with it?

creamy peach-yogurt popsicles

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Creamy Peach-Yogurt Popsicles |

After months and months (and months) of nothing but citrus, our eyes go wide at the sight of fruit in June. There are peaches at local farm stands, big ol’ watermelons and we had berries in the house as recently as last week. Hooray!

This also means that we inevitably end up with a few pieces that are a little past the “fresh”stage. I decided to go the popsicle route with the handful of peaches we had left, but not until after I had already juiced them. Using juice instead of our usual pureed fruit resulted in a much lighter and creamier popsicle. Read More

tomatolandia 2017

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The pantry is so sad and bare that I have been storing old cooking magazines and miscellaneous kitchen junk in there. All that is left of my 2016 tomatoes is these two jars of raw packed tomatoes, so to say that I am relieved to be picking up my first order of tomatoes tomorrow is an understatement.

Scouring kitchen surfaces and cleaning ALL THE THINGS today so that I can jump right in to canning tomorrow. I have 20 lbs of mixed tomatoes to contend with. Either going to do a raw-pack or sauce with the San Marzanos and the rest is getting used for shelf-stable salsa, enchilada sauce and some casera-style salsa for selling.

You can follow me and #tomatolandia over the weekend on Instagram and Twitter if you want to catch some of my progress.

paring down so you can cook more

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meal planning


Meal planning is my lifeline. Knowing what comes next in the kitchen keeps me grounded and helps my entire day tick through its marks.  Some weeks the meal plan is aspirational with mounds of new recipes to try and lots of new ingredients to work with. Sometimes it’s a simple rotation of rice and beans, tacos, and pasta. The best weeks though? Those are the ones with the perfect blend of what my husband lovingly calls “stovetop classics” and a teeny bit of new to keep everyone on their toes. Achieving this week to week without burning out has taken a lot of trial and error, where errors equal take out pizzas. Not the worst, but if we are eating out I’d rather it be an outing and opportunity to spend time together.

I have found that the key to sustaining a meal planning habit over the years (for me) has been to simplify and pare down the number of ingredients that I work with. Everything in my cookbook collection and everything at the grocery store is really just far too large a place to start. Paring down that everything to focus on what is in season, eliminates one of the most paralyzing parts of meal planning – where to begin.

You can apply this same philosophy to other parts of the kitchen, too. Instead of starting from “everything is game”, I now plan around a couple of base ingredients like barley and pinto beans and only keep a couple of kinds of fruit around.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be walking through a bit of how meal planning works in my kitchen. What kinds of things do I need to keep around to make weekday meals come off more easily? How do you get through a pound of <fill in grain or legume>  without boring of it by mid-week? Most importantly, how to start on a small scale so you don’t get overwhelmed and quit after a couple of weeks. Meal prep, pantry building, and shopping tips for you along the way, too.

Using a pound of chickpeas as a base ingredient to get us started so stay tuned!


meal plan – week 18

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vegetarian meal plans


This is our first full week of summer break and I am so stoked for a more relaxed pace! Having plenty of healthy-ish snacks on hand is top of the mind as is working through freezer and pantry contents to make room for summer preserving (my favorite canning season is coming up). Meals for the week are super simple as I figure out our new rhythm:

  • Leek Risotto
  • Hummus Wraps
  • Black Bean Burgers *
  • Rustic Salads **
  • Summer Linguine ***
  • Black Sesame Otsu ***

Hoping this new rhythm includes a little more kitchen help from the 13yo now that her course load is lighter. We shall see how that pans out!

* Isa Does It
** Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking 
*** Super Natural Every Day

almost summer (+ watermelon)

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cooking in season / cooking with kids / familia


Summer break has begun! The season of “how do we make an entire watermelon fit in the fridge” is here! The struggle is real and I have more than once had to tell the 13yo that we can’t get a watermelon until we clear room in the fridge. I try to get it quartered as soon as it gets home to make it feel more manageable:

  • half gets cubes up for easy snacking/packing.
  • one quarter gets pureed for popsicles
  • last quarter gets juiced for use in smoothies and cocktails

Popsicle season is also nearing so I’ll be sure to repost and update my small collection of homemade paletas in the coming week.