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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad

Apple Jicama Slaw

Apple Jicama Slaw with a creamy apple cider vinegar dressing // Karista's Kitchen

Crunchy, sweet, crisp and tangy, this Apple Jicama Slaw seems the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

We eat a lot of salad and slaw at my house which sometimes challenges my salad making creativity, especially when I make a salad for almost every dinner meal.

I adore using all sorts of fun and fresh ingredients for our salads and often they’re simply composed of whatever is left in the fridge and whatever is fresh on the counter.   And of course, whatever might be in season.

This is definitely apple season and I have quite a few sitting on my counter.  I also keep jicama in the fridge for when my snack craving gets the best of me.  This oval-shaped root vegetable has a beautifully crisp and slightly sweet texture which makes it a great snack to reach for when you’re hungry.  If you’ve never tried jicama, it’s definitely worth the effort.  Slice away the rough brown exterior and you’ll find a creamy white flesh that is perfect for slicing and snacking, julienne or grated for salads, and in Mexico, you’ll find it served sliced, chilled, seasoned with salt, chili powder and lime juice.

Apple and Jicama Slaw // Karista's Kitchen

I created a mayonnaise based dressing for this Apple Jicama Slaw recipe, however, a yogurt base would be just as delicious.  For a non-dairy version, a lime vinaigrette with a hint of Dijon would also be tasty.

I serve this salad a la carte for lunch or a light dinner and on occasion I’ll serve it with heartier fare, such as Cajun spiced shrimp or grilled or roasted chicken.  I also serve this Apple Jicama Slaw with my Slow Roasted Mexican Pork Tacos –  for taco perfection!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Apple and Jicama Slaw

Serving Size: 4-6

Apple and Jicama Slaw


  • 1 head of Napa Cabbage, halved and sliced into shreds
  • 2 cups grated or julienned jicama
  • 2 cups thinly sliced apples
  • 1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Place the cabbage and jicama in a large bowl and lightly toss with some of the dressing.
  • Pour the dressed cabbage and jicama onto a platter or in a serving bowl and then top with the thinly sliced apples and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes

    Bacon, Apples and Brussel Sprouts

    Brussels sprouts, apples and bacon side dish or one dish meal // Karista's Kitchen

    I have to admit, roasted Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is simple perfection.  I make them often but on occasion I switch things up and make this lovely Bacon, Apple and Brussels Sprouts side.  It’s easy to prepare and combines three distinct flavors that pair exquisitely together.  The smokiness of the bacon combined with the sweet of the apple… honestly, I could eat these two ingredients all by themselves.  But toss in some Brussels sprouts and the recipe somehow tastes complete.

    Of course I throw in some fresh garlic and sometimes add a splash of parmesan to the finished dish.  I think some shredded Irish cheddar would be tasty as well.

    Not only does this make a great side dish or one dish meal, it’s a lovely side for all the holiday dinner celebrations.  It happily accompanies turkey, prime rib, whole roasted salmon and a honey glazed ham.  Now I’m hungry!

    Just in case you’re not convinced Brussels sprouts are for you… I’ve added a few additional sides to browse.  You know, just in case. 😉

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Bacon, Apples and Brussel Sprouts

    Serving Size: 4-6

    Bacon, Apples and Brussel Sprouts


    • 6-8 ounces bacon, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups thin sliced apples, whatever is local and in season (I use Oregon local Honey Crisp)
    • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, cleaned, bottom ends trimmed but core intact and then halved through the core. I prefer the smaller to medium sprouts if you can find them.
    • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Squeeze of lemon


  • Fill a large pot with water and season the water generously with salt. Bring the water to a boil and add the Brussels sprouts. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the sprouts cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the sprouts are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Shake out the excess water and set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add about 1 - 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot add the diced bacon and cook. When the bacon is crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon and add the Brussels sprouts.
  • Increase the heat to medium high allowing the Brussels to brown and crisp a bit. When the Brussels look golden brown, gently toss in the garlic and the apples.
  • Turn the heat back down to medium and let the apples cook until crisp tender. Once the apples are done, stir in the bacon and give it a squeeze of lemon.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve warm.
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    Mashed cauliflower side dish

    Cauliflower Mashers


    Several years ago I posted this Cauliflower Mashers recipe in a post with several other enticing side dishes. 

    Roasted Cranberry and Mandarin Salad with Pistachos and Toasted Coconut


    Another lovely and sweet side for Roast Turkey and Honey Baked Ham.

    roasted beet salad with gorgonzola and candied walnuts

    Winter Roasted Beet Salad


    A gorgeous and delicious salad easily prepped and served – making your holiday celebration stress free.

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts


    Hands down one of my favorite salads.  Again, easy to prepare and so delicious paired with Roast Turkey, Whole Roasted Salmon, Duck Breast, Honey Baked Ham or Prime Rib.

    brussels sprouts gratin

    Brussels Sprouts Gratin


    Brussels Sprouts are grand all on their own, but combined in a gratin with cheese and cream totally elevates this dish to spectacular!

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Apple Gingerbread

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread // Karista's Kitchen


    When I lived back East many years ago, I took my then pre-school daughter apple picking every year.  We lived in beautiful New England where apple farms dotted the hillsides.

    Every year my little gal and I would layer up and slide on our wellies and go traipsing through apple orchards, picking the succulent juicy apples and filling our buckets.  I have vivid memories of my curly blonde haired gal bopping up and down singing and dancing through the orchards while picking apples off the ground instead of off the apple trees.

    Of course we never missed the hay ride and hot apple cider served at the barn.  I think that might have been my little gals most favorite part of apple picking.

    All that apple picking resulted in weeks of apple recipes.  Pies, breads, cakes, pancakes, waffles, baked apples, apple sauce and my little gal’s favorite, brown butter apples with her breakfast ham.  This was back in the day when I hadn’t a clue how to cook.  I faked it most the time and thankfully all that faking resulted in some pretty delicious food.  Which is how the brown butter apples and ham came to be.

    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    During one of our apple farm visits I found a little paperback of apple recipes.  I’ve used the paperback so often it’s now tattered, torn, splattered and sporting a few coffee spills.  I love this little book.  Written by a cookbook author and illustrator who hand wrote her cookbooks in calligraphy with the sweetest illustrations.  One of my most loved recipes in this book is the Upside Down Apple Gingerbread.  I simply call it Apple Gingerbread.

    Rich in color and flavor but not overly sweet, this gingerbread deliciously pairs with a cup of coffee or tea.  I haven’t altered the recipe too much, although I omit the cloves.  The gingerbread is so rich and flavorful I felt it just didn’t need the cloves.  However, I’ve kept it in the recipe if you’d like to use ground cloves.  There is also a fun twist in this recipe – a 3/4 cup of black coffee, which subtly intensifies the rich flavor of the gingerbread.

    Truly an autumn treat that makes you want to gather at the table with family and friends.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Upside Down Apple Gingerbread

    Serves 8

    Ingredients in order of use

    1/4 cup butter, melted

    2 cups sliced apples

    1/3 cup brown sugar


    1/2 cup butter, melted

    1/2 cup molasses

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/3 cup brown sugar

    1 egg


    2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I leave this out but feel free to include it)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

    3/4 cup hot black coffee

    1 –  10inch springform pan


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

    Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into a 10″ springform pan.  Arrange the apples and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup brown sugar.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted butter with molasses, sugar, brown sugar and egg.

    In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients and then add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, alternating with the black coffee.

    Pour the batter over the apples.

    Bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool for 15 minutes before inverting pan and releasing the spring.  I baked my cake about 55 minutes.  The cake is very moist.


    Recipe from the book “Apples” part of the Country Kitchen Collection written and illustrated by Jean Childress

    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

    Bacon Apple Cheddar Quiche


    bacon apple cheddar quiche

    Bacon, Apple, Cheddar Quiche


    Bacon Apple Cheddar Quiche… sound delicious?  I’m guest posting this boldly flavorful and savory tart over at my good friend’s blog, Pink Patisserie.  Read a sample of the post below and click on the link to snag the recipe.  While you’re there, stay a while and poke around.  Maria creates some of the most lush and beautiful recipes that will tantalize your taste buds and keep you coming back for more.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    quiche collage

    Winter greetings Pink Patisserie readers!  I’m Karista and I publish the recipe website Karista’s Kitchen.   Big love and thanks to Maria (Pink Patisserie) for asking me to guest post today! I’ve known Maria for many years now and I feel so blessed to call her friend.   A gracious, beautiful and talented lady who has an artistic eye for the naturally beautiful art of food and baking.  I love how Maria embraces the flavors of sweet and savory in her recipes.  Which is why I’ve chosen to guest post this tasty and satisfying Bacon, Apple, Cheddar Quiche.



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

    Butternut squash soup with apple and coconut milk

    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    I never met a squash I didn’t like.  Roasted, steamed, grilled, sautéed, battered and fried, pureed for tarts and desserts and of course soups.  Paired with additional Autumn ingredients, butternut squash is a lush and mouthwatering seasonal produce that’s not only good for the soul, but good for the body.

    Ok, I could totally go nerdy here.  I LOVE (can you hear me singing that word?) sharing the health benefits of whole foods.  However, for the sake of time, my time – as I’m supposed to be in my car picking up my teenager at this very moment – I’ll keep the nerdy stuff to a minimum.

    Low in fat, heart healthy, significant amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.  Not too mention it’s beautiful rich and orange hue signifies it’s abundance of carotenoids and beta carotenes.  All of which keep the heart, eyes and immune system healthy.  It’s also been known to help decrease inflammation caused by arthritis and asthma.  Phew!

    There is no doubt butternut squash is a power food.  A power food with a velvet and creamy texture when cooked and can be prepared sweet or savory.

    butternut squash soup

    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    I adore this soup. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl.  Combined with the sweet tart of the Autumn apple and tropical flavor of coconut milk, this soup is a staple in my frig during the holidays and winter months. Easy to prepare and stays in the frig for up to 5 days.   Make an extra batch to freeze in small bowls for after school snacks or a light lunch.  It also makes an excellent holiday party starter, served in small pretty bowls.

    I like to pair the soup with my favorite grilled Irish cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread.  Lovely flavors that compliment the rich and creamy butternut squash soup.  When I serve this to the Bennett Crew for dinner, I include roasted green beans or broccoli or a spinach salad to round out the meal.   Perfecto! (yes, I still believe I’m in Italy)

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    All the ingredients can be adjusted to taste and preference.  I’ve given approximates, but feel free to add a little more of this or a little less of that to create a soup to your family’s tastes.

    Serves 6 for a dinner meal or 12 for a party starter


    1 medium to large butternut squash

    1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2-3 tablespoons)

    1 medium to large apple, peeled and diced

    2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger (or more to taste at end of cooking)

    2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

    Olive oil

    1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (whole coconut milk in a can.  I prefer Thai Kitchen Organic)

    2-3 cups vegetable broth (or more if needed)

    Pinch of cinnamon (or as an option, pinch of curry spice)

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Serve with Grilled Irish Cheddar on Cinnamon Raisin Bread


    Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the butternut squash in half vertically – lengthwise (very carefully).  Scoop out the seeds.

    Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  Remove from the oven and  when the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl, mashing it as much as possible.  Set aside.

    In a large soup pot over medium heat add the butter or coconut oil.  When the butter/oil is melted and hot, but not smoking, add the shallot and diced apple.  Sauté until the shallot is translucent and the apple is starting to soften.

    Next, stir in the mashed butternut squash, pinch of cinnamon, coconut milk and veggie broth (start with 2 cups and add more as needed).  Heath through and bring to a very slow simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    With an emulsion blender, or in your vitamix, carefully puree the soup. It will be very hot.  Continue to adjust seasoning and liquid to your tastes.

    Allow the soup to slowly simmer covered for about 15 minutes.  Watch the soup as you don’t want it to burn.  Turn off the heat and let the soup sit stove top for another 15 minutes.

    This soup intensifies in flavor the longer it sits.  If serving for dinner I’d prepare it as early as possible so the flavors have time to develop and meld together.  Better yet, prepare the soup a day before and re-heat stove top for the evening meal.

    The soup will hold in the frig for about 5 days.  However, if you have leftovers, freeze after 3 days.  The soup will hold in the freezer for about 3 months.






    Breakfast Karista's Kitchen Sweets

    Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

    baked oatmeal with apples and spices

    Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

    Tractors humming in the distance, the scent of coffee in the air, the word “mom” can be heard chiming down the hallway and then I see Tank’s little furry face and big brown eyes peaking over the side of my bed.

    I’m home.

    I admit, it feels good to be home.  Although the last two weeks have been more magical than I ever imagined.

    By choosing to click and read this blog post, you confirm you are of legal drinking age in the country where this site is accessed.  Thank you.


    Cantine Leonardo DaVinci Chef Ana

    Me and Chef Ana

    I have many beautiful stories to share, mouthwatering recipes to unveil, and delightful new friends to introduce.

    In the beginning, I felt so lucky to be chosen the 2013 DaVinci Wine Culinary Arts Storyteller.  Now, I feel blessed.

    DaVinci Wine

    An enchanting week of food, wine and friends.

    More to come.  Until then, here’s a new recipe to start your Autumn morning, or maybe, end your Autumn day.

    Loads of Love and Delicious Wishes,


    Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

    Serves 4-6

    4-6 small ramekins or one 8-inch baking dish, buttered


    About 2 cups chopped apple (1-2 apples depending on size) I used our local honeycrisp apple but you can use whatever you have on hand.

    2 cups organic rolled oats (if you choose to use steel cut oats be sure to soak them overnight before preparing)

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon cinnamon (and a little more for dusting apples)

    ½ teaspoon ground ginger

    ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

    ½ cup dark brown sugar (or ¾ cup coconut palm sugar)

    2 eggs, slightly whisked

    1 cup milk

    ¼ cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil (I used Everyday Fresh)


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

    Whisk together the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and brown sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and olive oil.

    Dust the apples with a little cinnamon.  Cinnamon is a excellent spice for lowering blood sugar.

    Combine the oat mixture with the egg mixture and then fold in the apples.

    Ladle into buttered ramekins or baking dish.  Add a small pat of butter on top of each filled ramekin or a few pats of butter on top of the oatmeal in the baking dish.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the baked oatmeal is mostly firm to the touch.

    Serve warm… and if you like, drizzle a little maple syrup over the top.

    Happy Harvest!

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Soup vegetarian


    Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

    Every morning I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor in front of my baby chick’s crate, coffee cup in hand, chatting and playing with my four fuzzy little gals. This morning was no different.

    I heard Ranger Craig walk up the stairs to the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye, I caught a  slight smile forming around his mouth.  He tells me I need a farm.  I tell him I’ve known this for years. 🙂

    My oldest gal suggested we get a pig.  Not a “raise it for ham” sort of pig, but a “play with the cute little piggy” pig.  That’s out of the question… but did mention I’d love a goat?

    Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

    Mulligatawny Soup

    My new friend and local blogger Wendy, over at Chez Chloe , recommends two Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  I agree!  I have a Washington cold rain forest jungle behind my house.  I’ve often thought a few goats might take care of that jungle for me.  And fresh goats milk for cheese sounds delightful.

    If you’re my neighbor and you’re reading this, never fear.  I won’t be getting goats any time soon.  Mostly because my two sassy (human) gals would probably sneak them into the house.  That would not be good.

    Until then, I’m completely happy sitting on the kitchen floor… talking to my baby chickens.


    This is a soup with many variations.  A tumeric laced soup with huge flavor and usually includes beef, chicken or lamb.  My version of Mulligatawny is filled with all the wonderful flavors of Autumn.

    Apples, sweet potatoes and the lovely Indian blend of spices, Garam Masala.  Instead of rice, I’ve used wheat berries.  I adore Jovial Foods Einkorn Wheat Berries, nutty, with a little hint of sweetness, these wheat berries make a delicious substitute for rice.

    Serves 4-6  can easily be doubled


    2  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

    1  tablespoon Garam Masala or:

    2  teaspoons ground coriander

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

    ¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Pinch of ground cloves

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

    1 tablespoon butter

    1 onion, diced

    1 carrot diced

    4-6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarian version)

    3 tablespoons tomato paste

    1-2  teaspoons Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chile Paste (or a teaspoon of hot sauce)

    1 apple peeled and diced

    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

    2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional)

    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

    1-2 cups cooked wheat berries

    Salt to taste


    Mix together the black pepper and Garam Masala.  If using the individual spices, mix together the spices and black pepper and set aside.

    Heat the butter over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot and then add the onion and carrots.  When the veggies have softened and wilted add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture, stirring for about one minute.

    Then slowly mix in the chicken broth.  Stir in the tomato paste, roasted red chile paste, apples and sweet potatoes.  Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.

    Add the diced cooked chicken and cooked wheat berries.  Taste for seasoning adding salt as needed.  If you feel the soup needs a “lift” in flavor, add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar.  The longer this soup sits the better it will taste.

    An excellent soup for freezing.

    Additional add ins:  Diced parsnips, diced turnips, or winter greens.

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

    Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

    Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

    Have you ever sat down to a meal and felt a deep sense of pleasure?

    Hunger enticing aromas swirling about your place at the table and causing a most soul filled joy.  And at first bite you pause, relishing the beauty of the flavors dancing on your tongue.

    Fresh Sage

    Fresh Sage

    My culinary students often hear me say  “food should  not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul, nourish our body, while delighting our senses”.

    My favorite Brie… Le Chatelain

    This dish completely delights my senses.

    Apples, shallots and fresh sage

    Filled with fresh diced tart apples, sweet, spicy shallots, earthy sage and best of all… stinky cheese.

    I love stinky cheese.  Just ask the Bennett Crew.

    On occasion they’ll open the refrigerator door and get a huge whiff of my stinky cheese.  Of course, moaning and quickly closing the frig door for fear they might pass out from the overpowering  scent.

    But once that stinky cheese makes it into stuffed chicken breasts with apples, shallots and sage… all is forgiven. 🙂

    Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

    Stuffing chicken breasts is a simple task.  Just takes a little patience and a little practice and you’ll have it mastered in no time at all.  I promise!  I’ve attached two demonstration photos at the end of the recipe. 

    If you love this recipe, you’ll absolutely love the recipe Baked Chicken Breasts with Cream Cheese Stuffing and Tomato Sauce from my new blogging friend Chica Andaluza.  While you’re there, check out Chica’s other delicious recipes!  Happy Cooking!

    Serves 4


    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably organic or locally naturally raised

    3 tablespoons high heat oil

    1 heaping tablespoon diced shallot

    2 apples, peeled, cored and small diced

    1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

    Salt and fresh ground pepper

    1 – 1 1/2 cup apple cider

    1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

    4 ounces Brie cheese, sliced


    Preheat the oven to 400F.

    For the apples: Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

    Add the shallots and let them cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Then add the diced apples.  Cook the apples until somewhat golden and tender about 5-7 minutes.

    Mix in the chopped fresh sage and sauté a minute longer.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

    For the chicken:  At the largest end of each chicken breast, make a deep horizontal cut (pocket).  Stuff each chicken breast with a slice of brie and then the apple mixture.

    Season the outside of the chicken breasts with salt and Pepper.

    To cook the Chicken:

    In an ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium high.  When the oil is hot brown the chicken breasts on both sides, being careful when turning so the filling doesn’t fall out.  If needed use toothpicks to secure pocket.  If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, brown the chicken breasts and then transfer to a baking dish and proceed with apple cider and bake according to directions below. This method also works well if preparing 6 stuffed chicken breasts.

    Once the chicken is browned, add the apple cider and place in a preheated oven and let them cook until done, about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165F.

    When the chicken is done, remove from the oven.  Place the chicken on a platter and keep warm.  Heat the remaining pan juices and sauce from the cooked chicken and apple cider and bring it to a lively simmer.  Add a bit more apple cider if needed (I like extra sauce).  Add a splash of brandy or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to pull all those delicious flavors together.

    Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if needed.

    Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

    I love this dish served with simple roasted brussel sprouts or broccoli.  Also, in the spring this is delightful with roasted or steamed fresh spring asparagus.

    Stuffing a Chicken Breast

    At the plumpest end of a chicken breast, cut a deep pocket.  Cut slowly, and if for some reason you cut through the opposite side, not too worry.  You can still stuff your chicken breast.  It will just need some extra care and patience when browning.

    Stuffing a chicken breast

    Once you’ve made your pocket, slide the cheese in first.  With a small teaspoon fill the pocket with the apples.  Using your fingers to “fully stuff” the chicken and make sure the filling is secure.

    Use this method for any type filling.  Ham and Swiss or Gruyère, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and feta, olive tapenade, fresh herbs and Gruyère, fresh rosemary and cheddar.  Yum!

    Stuffing a Chicken Breast

    Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

    Apple Cinnamon Cake

    Ranger Craig and I are always looking for the next big adventure.  Probably Ranger Craig more than me.  Which is why he was the Ranger and I clearly would never pass basic training.   And although I truly love home and hearth, I love to experience new places, new people and especially new food!

    A room with a view, Victoria, British Colombia

    In our quest for a little fall adventure, we sailed over to Victoria, BC for a long weekend.  Actually, it wasn’t long enough.  Not only did Ranger Craig and I walk our way through the city for three days, we ate our way through as well.  It was fantastic!

    Brasserie L’Ecole, Cafe Brio and The Local Kitchen to name a few.  The most amazing food.  Sitting at the bar in Brasserie L’Ecole, the restaurant so full we would have waited an hour for a table, Ranger Craig and I ate in Silence.  Literally, the food so divine we couldn’t speak.  Pure food love!

    Scottish Stone Fired Ale

    A visit to Victoria isn’t complete without a stop at one of the famous Irish or Scottish pubs.  Bard and Banker Scottish Pub found its way into our afternoon one day.  As did a pint of the famous Scottish Stone Fired Ale.  🙂

    Butchart Gardens in Fall

    Butchart Gardens in the Fall

    While walking and eating our way through this beautiful and unique city, Ranger Craig and I also took a quick little detour north to see the famous Butchart Gardens.  Even in the Pacific Northwest Drizzle, the gardens were mesmerizing.

    Darling homes on Fisherman’s Wharf

    Of course, the desserts did not disappoint.  We dined on the most decadent Apple Cake.  Moist with a silky but delicate crumb, filled with sweet and tart apples and just a hint of cinnamon. I had to duplicate the recipe.  Or at least close to it.

    Sweet Washington Apples

    And because the Bennett Crew loves cake for breakfast, I prepared this apple cinnamon cake with less sweetener, lots of apple pieces and plenty of cinnamon.  The perfect beginning to a perfect fall day.

    Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

    Recipe adapted from multiple sources

    I tested this recipe with two different types of flour.  My favorite is the Einkorn flour from Jovial.  It gave the most silky and soft crumb without the cake falling apart.  I also tested the recipe with 2 parts organic all-purpose flour and 1 part cake flour.  A fun little trick taught to me by my good friend and well-known Seattle Pastry Chef, Laurie Pfalzer.   This combination also gave a lovely delicate crumb.   But if you’d like to try the Einkorn flour, an ancient whole grain, check out the website to find it in a store near you.

    Serves 8


    2 cups organic flour (I used Einkorn Ancient grain flour which makes this cake light, silky and moist.  You can also use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1/2 cup cake flour)

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    1/2 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter)

    3/4 cup dark brown sugar

    1 large egg

    1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine just a tad less than one cup milk with one tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes)

    2-3 apples peeled and diced (I used 3, but I love lots of apples in my apple cake)


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F, 8×8 baking dish.

    Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

    In another bowl, or kitchen aid mixer, beat together the oil and sugar.  Once combined add the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

    Gently mix in the buttermilk.

    Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the diced apples.

    Pour into the greased baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the cake is done.  It will be nicely golden brown on top.

    Let the cake sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!

    Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Red Cabbage, Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

    Photo credit: Food Matters Website

    Recently, Ranger Craig and I watched the full length feature film documentary, Food Matters.  A compelling look at the food we eat and how it affects our health and well-being.  It’s an absolute truth that we are what we eat.  Food can affect our bodies and minds either positively or negatively;  all the more reason to keep your food real and consume less processed foods.

    Fresh and flavorful whole foods are a treat to the taste buds.  Whole and healthy foods don’t have to be tasteless, but can be transformed into divine and delicious meals. Using fresh herbs, aromatics (onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, peppers, etc.), spices, healthy oils and whole seasonings keep the fresh foods bursting with flavor while nourishing our bodies.

    So, when you serve your next barbecue pork, chicken or beef (all natural and organic of course), try serving this delicious fresh whole foods mixed coleslaw salad with your meal.  It will complement your main dish, give your body health boosting nutrients and satisfy your taste buds.

    I loved this recipe so much I wanted to share!  Recipe (and photo) adapted from the Food Matters website. 

    Serves 3-4 (recipe easily doubled)


    • 3 cup of red cabbage (thinly sliced)
    • 6 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 1 granny smith apple (thinly sliced)
    • 1-2 cups fresh spring greens (optional)
    • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
(toasted if you like)
    • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (raw or organic if you can find it)
    • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

    handful of pecans or walnuts for garnish (I like the nuts toasted)


    Use a knife or food processor to chop the cabbage, carrots and apple Julienne style. Throw your sesame seeds in (I like using black and white sesame seeds) or toast them lightly in a frying pan.
 Toss all of this together.

    For the dressing combine the ginger, vinegar and oil and stir with a spoon.  Add this to the cabbage, carrots and apples evenly.
    Top with more sesame seeds (fantastic source of Calcium).  Salt and pepper to taste and add pecan nuts for a delicious nutty taste.


    Chicken Kid Friendly

    Spicy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Butternut Squash, Apples, Raisins and Shallots

    This post is short but sweet!  I’ve definitely been short on time the past few weeks but never fear, I’m still cookin away in my kitchen dreaming up yummy recipes for dinner.

    Speaking of yummy, here’s a recipe that is finally ready to be posted.  After much testing, thanks to my fabulous recipe testers, Mindy Hebenstreit, Carman Baker-Wassam and Kathy Bohac, I think this delicious and aromatic spicy chicken recipe is ready to roll.

    This version of the recipe uses a sweet and spicy marinade for the chicken.  We found that marinating the chicken prior to roasting kept the chicken moist but also reduced the liquid needed during roasting.  The end result was a nice amount of “sauce” combined with spicy but sweet tasting veggies and fruit.  A delicious fall meal that will delight the senses and tickle the taste buds!

    Thanks again to my super fabulous recipe testers!  You Ladies rock!

    Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

    Serves 4-6


    4-6 chicken breasts*

    ½ cup apple cider

    ½ cup olive oil

    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon pepper

    ¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

    ¼ cup brown sugar

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    2 cups butternut squash, 1 inch cubed

    1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced

    ½ cup raisins

    1/3 cup sliced shallot

    Salt and pepper


    Whisk together the apple cider, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar and garlic.  Place the chicken in a glass baking dish or in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight or at least 6 hours.

    To Prepare

    Preheat the oven to 375F.

    If the chicken has been marinating in a Ziploc bag, pour the chicken with marinade into a large roasting or baking dish.  If the chicken marinated in a baking dish proceed with the recipe.

    Reserve the apples in a separate bowl.  In a large bowl, season the butternut squash, shallots and raisins with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (and a bit more chipotle chili powder if you wish).  Layer this mixture evenly over and around the chicken.

    After 15 minutes remove the pan from the oven and layer the apples over the chicken and squash. Place the pan back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is done.  The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer.  The internal temperature of the chicken should read 160-165F.

    Once the chicken is done, remove the baking pan from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. The chicken will continue to cook and juices will re-distribute creating a juicier chicken breast. The squash and fruit should be soft with a little sauce in the bottom of the pan.

    Transfer to a platter and ladle the veggies and fruit over the chicken.  Ladle pan juices over the veggies and fruit and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley if desired.

    You can also serve this dish on individual plates using the same method as above.  This dish is delicious with rice, wild brown rice, rice pilaf, herbed cous cous, or your favorite rice dish.

    * I also prepared this using chicken thighs and it was delicious!  However, be sure to adjust cooking time.

    Kid Friendly Pork

    Roast Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apples, Cranberries and Shallots

    Years ago, when Ranger Craig and I lived back East, we had the opportunity to visit Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It was an amazing experience each time we walked through the village.  So much fun in fact, that we decided to spend several of our Thanksgiving’s at Plymouth, dining at the plantation for  a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

    Plymouth Plantation looking at Duxbury Beach

    Our oldest gal Tink, was a tike back then.  She had as much fun as I did exploring the old plantation.  I still have visions of Tink dressed in her emerald-green wool coat with matching beret and bright red patent leather shoes.  Visions of those little red shoes running as fast as she could through the plantation.  Chasing chickens.  Yep, that’s my little farm girl.

    Plymouth Plantation

    One year however, we decided to give the Plymouth chickens a break from our curious four-year old and dined at a local country Inn.  It was one of the most delicious Thanksgiving meals I can remember.  A pumpkin soup that I’m still trying to re-create, a succulent stuffed roast turkey and apple cranberry dressing, and of course all sorts of delightful desserts.

    Photo courtesy of Plymouth Plantation

    I’ve always remembered that exquisite meal.  Mostly because at that time I could hardly boil water.   But truly, I was amazed by all the combinations of clean fresh seasonal flavors that were so prevalent in the delicious food.

    In remembrance of those days gone by,  I created this beautifully delicious dish.   It reminds me of the first Thanksgiving when new settler’s celebrated harvest.  And of course, remembrance of all the chickens Tink chased through the village.  (Notice this dish is pork, not chicken) 🙂

    Roast Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apples, Cranberries and Shallots

    Serves 4-6


    1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin (usually two loins in a package)

    Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Olive oil

    1 large apple, peeled and diced

    1/3 cup dried cranberries

    2 tablespoons chopped shallot

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

    1- 4 inch sprig of thyme, leaves removed and lightly chopped

    1 cup apple cider

    1 cup white wine (can substitute with 1 cup apple juice/cider or white grape juice)

    Kitchen twine


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

    Mix together ½ cup of the diced apples with the dried cranberries, shallots, 1 tablespoon Italian parsley and chopped thyme.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Slice each tenderloin lengthwise about ¾ deep to make a long pocket.  Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper.

    Fill the tenderloins with the apple cranberry mixture and then tie with kitchen twine to hold in the filling.

    Place the stuffed tenderloins in a baking dish and drizzle each loin with olive oil.  Then drizzle with 1 cup of wine and transfer to the oven.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.

    Place the leftover filling (if you have some left) with the remaining chopped apples in a small sauce pan.  Add one cup of apple cider to the chopped apples and bring it to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and simmer on low until the apples are tender and the mixture thickens into a light compote or sauce.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

    When the pork is done, let it rest for a few minutes.  Remove the kitchen twine and slice into 8-10 slices per tenderloin. Transfer onto a platter and sprinkle with remaining Italian parsley.  Serve with the apple compote and a wild and brown rice or garlic mashed potatoes.