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October 2014

Roasted Veggie Salad w/ Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

  Roasted salad 0

     This salad was born out of me trying to like cauliflower. It is such a healthy and cheap veggie. I really wanted to embrace it. I LOVE roasted veggies, so I started there. I roasted both cauliflower and delicata squash (which I love because you do not have to peel it). I really like how the sweetness from the squash rounds out the salad. Then I made a yummy vinaigrette with kalamata olives. My thinking was their strong flavor would basically cover up the cauliflower flavor I was trying to get use to. I served the veggies on a bed of fresh spinach. This is now my favorite fall salad. A dinner all on it's own or a great side dish to a grilled steak. I have to say after enjoying this salad I now love roasted cauliflower and eat it plain as a side dish or snack. Next is to get used to mashed cauliflower with cheese ;-)

  Roasted salad 2

Roasted Veggie Salad w/ Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

Serves 2 or 4 small dishes

2 cups cauliflower, broken into very small pieces

2 cups delicata squash, cut into cleaned ½“cubes (I do not peel it becuase the peel is edible)

3 TBL (or so as needed) of oil, (I like avocado oil)

1 TBL sea salt

Fresh spinach

Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

You can garnish the salad with feta or parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, etc.


Pre-heat oven to 400◦F. Line a pan with parchment paper. You want a pan like a jelly roll with sides and roomy enough for for cauliflower and squash. You do not want them squished together on the pan. Coat the cauliflower and squash with enough oil to cover the veggies. Arrange them on the parchment and sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top. Roast 40-50 minutes. I like them very crispy, so I roast them longer.  Let the veggies cool about 10 minutes before putting your salad together.

Toss either just the spinach or all the veggies in the vinaigrette (see my notes about this). Start with half the batch of vinaigrette and then add more as needed. If you do not have enough vinagrette, just toss in a bit more oil. Garnish as you like and enjoy!


Kalamata Vinaigrette

½ cup olive oil

3 TBL (or more depending on what you like) of balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove

8 whole but pitted kalamata olives

Salt and pepper to taste


With a blender stick or in a blender, blend all ingredients together. Taste and adjust as needed.


1. I found braking the cauliflower into very small pieces helps and really roasting them. They taste deep-fried then. A little dried garlic is good too.

2. Dressing the salad. I prefer to dress just the spinach but you can taste the cauliflower more that way. So if you are trying to cover up the flavor, dress all the veggies.

3. Roasted green beans, asparagus or tomatoes would be good in this salad too.

4. I like to eat  my roasted veggies soon after I roast them, so they stay crispy.


Roasted salad 3

Pumpkin Custard, grain/gluten free

  Pumpkin cus

    I have not written much lately about my pre-diabetes. I am doing good. It has been 7 months or so. No symptoms, I am working out and doing pretty good on my diet. Which to reiterate is a low carb diet, lots of veggies and some protein. I am not eating quite as low carb as I was. I am adding small amount of beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa , etc. You cannot not eat super low carb long term. If I eat a really bad, carby meal I try to eat real low carb the next day to balance myself out. I find now if I eat too much of something like bread I get a terrible stomach ache, so I satisfy myself with a small slice now and then.

    It if funny the some of the carbs I thought I would miss I do not like pasta and other surprises me like I really crave corn tortillas. It is a constant balancing act. Plus I have my family (if it was only me to feed, it would so much easier ;-)  This dessert came out of trying to make something for my family but also for me. They have been in pie mood lately. Which fine, I just eat the filling and leave the crust but I was sick of the lovely crust calling my name. So I decided to make a pumpkin custard. Which honestly is just pumpkin pie filling but it is all in how you cook it. Very simply you cook the filling at a low temp in a bain-marie. This will give a softer, silkier custard. I used mason jars but did NOT have the lids on while baking. After they cooled I added the lids. This is simple. You can even keep bags of filling in the freezer, waiting to defrost and bake off!

Pumpkin cus2

Pumpkin Custard

makes 4-6 servings


1 pumpkin pie filling, most fillings that have eggs in them will work. I like to use my simply rich filling.


Pre-heat oven to 300˚F (if you know your oven runs hot, then 275˚F)

Fill clean mason jars 1/2 or 1/3 way depending on how big you want each serving. Make a bain-marie (water bath). What I do is take a baking pan big enough to to hold your jars or custard cups and set the pan in my pre-heated oven and pour hot water in pan filling about a third of the way. Then I add the jars. I do not like to add the water after the jars are in the pan because you risk getting water in your custard. Bake anywhere from 40 minutes until 60 minutes. You want the center to be cooked. It may be jiggly but nothing liquidy when you insert a knife in the center. Pull out jars and let them sit on your counter until cool. Then add your lids and store in fridge. All that is needed is a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I barely sweeten mine and add a splash of dark rum!

Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts

Carrot soup0o

   This is a recipe from lasts fall issue of Gatherings, Rustic Romance (the digatal version is free by the way). It is a simple soup recipe I wanted to share!

    Carrots are an ubiquitous vegetable and one that I always keep on hand. This soup is straight forward. Carrots are cooked in broth and pureed with a touch of cream. What gives the soup its depth of flavor is the hazelnuts and the parmesan rind. I got the idea from light summer minestrone I make, full of vegetables and herbs. I try to keep the leftover rinds from my wedges of parmesan cheese and throw them in soups. After the soup is cooked, I toss the rind away. It is like getting one last squeeze of flavor from the cheese. Simply garnish your soup with some toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. You have a clean but richly flavored soup!

PS all photos are taken by Annetta Bosakova

Carrot soup 1o1

Carrot Soup Garnished with Hazelnuts
6 small servings

2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 TBL olive oil
5 cups carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼ “slices
4 cups of chicken broth or water
Heal of parmesan cheese (the thick end of a wedge that is inedible)
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, with skins rolled off and very coarsely shopped
Toasted hazelnut oil or good flavored olive oil

In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté shallots in oil for five minutes or so, until they are soft but do not burnt. Add carrots, broth and cheese rind. Cover pan and simmer ½ hour, until carrots are soft but not mushy. Remove rind and throw away. Add cream and blend with a blender stick or regular blender until smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking. If the soup is too thick, blend in some water. When you are ready to serve garnish the bowls of soup with hazelnuts and a of drizzle hazelnut oil.

Since this is such a simple soup the better tasting the carrots are, the better tasting the soup will be.
Another garnish that would be good with this soup is chiffonade fresh basil.

Storybook Vintage- Frugality Is Not A Killjoy


    I wrote this post 3 years ago but I have to say these words mean more to me now than when I wrote them. David and I are working on getting rid of all debt. We are cash only now. Which is great but leaves very little after bills. We have been frugal over the years but still found ourselves falling back on credit for extras. We did not have best communication in this area. We never fight about money (we do not fight about much) but to be on the same page now is much better. Sticking ones head in the sand is not a good idea. Having written this though I have to say it is hard being on such a tight budget. It is hard to be in our 50’s and not be able to travel, our bills seem bigger and we just feel more insecure. I have had to say no to several wonderful invitations and opportunities. Not that I am complaining!! We are blessed beyond!! It is just that I needed a reminder of the beauty in frugality and thought maybe you do too. So I am reposting, Frugality Is Not A Killjoy xox



“By sowing frugality, we reap liberty, a golden harvest” ~Agesilaus


    I love this saying! I have it written on my chalkboard, which came from the old school house down the road. When I was young though, I hated the word frugality. To me it meant NO fun, no adventures, no joy! I thought frugality was just about the things you lose. It was all about self-denial and I will be the first one to say, I am not good at self-denial.

    I was pretty pampered as a girl. Life was about more and I liked it that way. Instant gratification worked for me ;- ) Well, until it did not but I am getting ahead of myself. Life was always one expensive adventure after another. I will be honest and say it was fun. I loved seeing new places (like Paris and Venice), trying new restaurants, buying new outfits but the thing is I had all this fun because I have a father who worked hard to buy those things and I did not appreciate that fact. My father was a workaholic and I took it for granted how hard he worked. Plus my father likes to shop, dine and travel even more than I do! The interesting detail is when I wanted to get married I did not want to marry a man like my father, who lived for making money. I love my father but I could see how lacking the other areas of his life were.


“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” C S Lewis


    Well one day my knight in shining armor came galloping in (who scrubbed my coffee pots at work, so I did not have to, without even being asked. Now if there is ever a way to win a girls heart, especially a pampered girl like me, that was it!). He did not live for making money. He is hard worker but is much more interested in his family, his life, his wife and children. This means he was never going to make the kind of income my father made

    I was torn in half; I wanted to be a fulltime homemaker. I loved the challenge of making the most around me. Like our first Christmas, when I decorated the house with the pine boughs from outside with gold painted stars. BUT I also love Paris and the thick hot chocolate I had that could barely be poured. Sadly I could not have both. I was going to have to choose, I was going to have to be frugal. Well if I was going to have to be something, I would have to find the fun in it. I had to embrace frugality and as I did, I started see what it added to my life. I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator. Now it can be a killjoy but anything can be. It is all how you use it. Before embracing frugality I struggled with:

  •      Depression (Depression, from all the things I wanted and could not afford.)
  •       Worry (Worry, from the money I spent on things, I should not have.)
  •       An unhappy marriage (Unhappy, because of the fights with hubby over the  money I used.)
  •      Disregard (Because when you just buy something and never make anything with your own two hands, you do not understand and appreciate all the work that goes into it. I will never take a loaf of bread for granted after trying to hand grind wheat!)
  •       Un-creativity (Well actually I was pretty creative when I had money BUT I was way more creative when I did/do not.)


  “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” Richard Wagner


    This opened up a whole new world to me. Not having money forces you to think out of the box. Make the most of what you have. See things in a new light and you know what? It is fun! I have made candles, picked grass for salad (well dandelions), shoveled goat manure for a raspberry patch so I could make yummy, homemade ice cream, cut up an old flannel nightgown to make a pretty rose covered petticoat, scented baking soda for homemade cleaners and a zillion more things. I am so much better for it. I do things with more thought and care now. I see the world around me in more detail and appreciate it. I admire and have a bond with others who create. I think the big thing is I am not so me, me anymore. I will not say I am not that way at all because we all know that’s not true ;- ) But I have learned that more things do not equal more happiness. Actually less things, means I love the things I have more. I am not looking for the world to fill me up; I am busy filling myself up.

    Also being frugal does not mean we have to think small. Making frugal choices, does not mean the choice has to be frugal. I am all for making your dreams come true. It just means you do not run off with every whim. Especially if you are like me and have expensive whims. No, it means thinking long and hard before deciding what is really important to you. It might be some over-the-top thing like hundreds of paper butterflies tacked to a hall (which I was considering). But by being frugal it will also mean saying no to a lot of other, less important things. Frugally is not about loss, it is about making choices, owning those choices and being better for them. And that my dears, adds to one’s life, not takes away!


“I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator.” Me