Summer and Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

Summer is here! We don’t have big plans other than lots of beach time, gatherings with friends, and eating lots of summer dishes. The grill will be in full force and my new ice-cream maker is just one of the best things I could hope for this summer. So far we’ve made banilla and also strawberry ice cream. I can’t wait to unleash the not so ‘kid friendly’ flavors.

Our first and probably only summer project is this vegetable garden raised bed. No, I did not built it. I got it from my hubby and kids for my birthday. This one is made by Gronomics and hubby got it online at Crate&Barrel but there are many different elevated garden beds available online. Our green thumbs have been challenged and we’re waiting patiently for our eggplants, hot chili peppers, okra, kale, and mustard greens (still seedling.)

Vegetable Garden Raised Bed

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and Instagrams of  pickled radishes. I’ve never made it before and I was just curious about all the hype.

I was planning to add them to tacos but after letting it rest for a day in the fridge I tried one, and another, and one more…and I’ve been snacking on them since them. It was love at first bite for sure, but let me tell you, it smells like fart every time I open that jar. But I don’t care. They are radishes after all.

These batch never made it to see a taco, but I added the pickled radishes to this horseradish mustard potato salad. They added a special sweet and sour crunchiness to it. So good!

Potato Salad with Pickled Radishes

And if you ever get to make these pickled radishes try them on top of smashed avocado toast or crackers. I’m hooked on these so bad!

Smashed avocado on Ritz cracker topped with pickled radishes

Happy summer to all!

Pickled Radishes
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used ½ apple cider and ½ rice vinegar)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 4 peppercorn smashed
  • 4-8 coriander seeds whole (optional)
  1. Thinly slice the radish bulbs and place them in a jar. In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, cold water, honey/sugar, sea salt, peppercorn, coriander seeds, and the garlic. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the vinegar mix into the jar. Place the lid on the jar. Allow the radishes to sit until cool. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 10 days.


100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins from

You should know by now that I have serious baking issues. I won’t bother to repeat again everything I find so challenging about baking. Simply put, baking is a pain and I can only get it right occasionally. One of the rarest occasions happened over the weekend.  I made the most delicious, moist, and fluffy 100% whole wheat blueberry muffins. Now, 100 % whole wheat does not always go with adjectives like these, but this recipe is PERFECT and I’m so happy that I haven’t gave up baking just yet!

Here is one handy baking tip for muffins I’ve learned from a pastry chef; do NOT over mix the ingredients or you end up with rubbery and chewy muffins. The wet ingredients for this recipe should look like this after being mixed:

Secret for the perfect muffin

And it’s totally fine to have a few streaks of flour after adding the dry ingredients.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with Kefir
  • In a large bow, whisk together:
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2.5oz butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
  • ½ cup of milk (1 or 2%)
  • ½ of blueberry or vanilla kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together"
  • 1-1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup blueberries
  1. Whisk the wet ingredients until the butter just form tiny pebbles.
  2. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet and mix JUST until combined. Do NOT overmix.
  3. Spoon into muffin tins (half way) or paper pannetone cups.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  5. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden all over.
It makes 12 small muffins.


Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Forbidden Rice and Blue Cheese

Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Rice and Bluecjeese

Black rice is the new brown and my family is officially converted to black rice. The benefits of black rice are endless and I blogged about it here but if you missed here is the scoop. Like brown rice, black rice is full of antioxidants, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, (also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai) that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits.

I was really surprise when my 8-year-old picky eater chose black rice over brown rice today. I’m pretty sure that she would’ve chosen white rice if it was an option, but black rice was her choice…and ‘that’ made my day!

I put this lovely salad together with the  leftover black rice for hubs and me. It was delicious and it took less than 10 minutes to make.

Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Rice and Bluecjeese

The deal: Sprouts has Lotus Organic Black Forbidden Rice for $3.99 (15oz bag) this week, which it’s definitely a great price!


Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Forbidden Rice and Bluecheese
  • For the Salad:
  • 7oz bag of wild arugula (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Wild Arugula)
  • ½ cup of green or red grapes cut in halves
  • ½ cup of steamed black rice (I used Lotus-Org Forbidden Black Rice)
  • ¼ cup of blue cheese (feta cheese and goat cheese works too)
  • ⅛ cup chopped walnuts
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • ⅛ cup minced onion or shallot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid aminos or ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange squeezed
  1. Combine salad ingredients. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients well and drizzle over salad. Toss salad to coat. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

Apple Honey Cake

Whole Wheat Honey Olive Oil Apple Cake

I just love this recipe so much. For somebody that hates baking, this is a very easy to make cake and it never fails. I’ve made it about a dozen times, and it’s one of my favorite cakes.  It’s easy to bake, super moist, semi-chunky and perfect with a cup of coffee.

I found the recipe at one of my favorite food blogs Pinch of Yum. Their recipe includes a frosting that I never bother to make because the cake is so delicious as it is and we usually start devouring it before it even has a chance to cool off. I know, we are monster!

I’m still taking baby steps on the whole blogging thing, and I may suck at blogging as much as I suck at baking. But I’m trying. I love having my recipes documented and trying other bloggers recipes.

So many recipes to create, to try and to share…So little time.

The Deal: This week @Sprouts Gala, Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples are 98cents lb. I’ve used Granny Smith and Gala apples for this recipe before and they are both great.

Whole Wheat Apple Cake from

Apple Honey Cake
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 minced apples (I julienne it in the food processor)
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan or classic 9" tube cake pan. Core the apples and mince or julienne them in a food processor.
  2. Whisk the sugar and oil together until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, honey, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the batter. Pour into bundt pan (I used a 1Classic 9" tube cake pan.)
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and invert onto a plate.



Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

This easy jam is a lot better for you than jams or jellies that are loaded with sugar.  Blueberries, orange juice, chia seeds and maple syrup, each of these ingredients carry their own benefits. I usually have it with toast, but it’s also delicious over Greek yogurt and oatmeal.  

The deal: Blueberries are $0.98 at Sprouts starting today!

Happy jamming!!!!

Blueberry Orange Chia Seeds Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Jam
  • 1 small pack of fresh blueberries (4.4oz)
  • 3 tablespoons chia soaked in ½ cup of orange juice or water or fresh apple juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Start by soaking chia seeds in ½ a cup of orange juice or water or apple juice and one tablespoon of maple. Leave the chia seeds to soak until all the liquid soaks into the seeds and you have a gel (about 30 minutes)
  2. Put the chia mixture, blueberries, and maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Try it and add more syrup if needed.
  3. The mixture will be similar to a smoothie. Refrigerated to allow it to firm up slightly. If you want the mixture thicker and more firm, stir in another tablespoon of chia seeds.
This jam is delicious on fruit bowls, toast, ice cream, or anything that will hold still. It can keep for one week in the refrigerator, but we usually finish it before that.


Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

This is a healthy alternative to those “I need something crunchy and salty” cravings.  Roasting the garbanzos to a perfect crunch can be tricky, but at the right temperature and diligent supervision, you can have a deliciously addicting snack.

And here is the deal on chickpeas or garbanzo beans: They’re high in fiber,  manganese (for energy production), folate and protein and there are some studies out there that claim chickpeas even help to regulate appetite. So ‘hell yeah’ I’m going to much on these little salty crunchy bombs all day long!

Here is what you need: (If you’ve never roasted chickpeas, start with one can and see how you like it. I usually make 2 cans at the time. )

Roasted Chickpeas

Rinse it well.

Roasted Chickpeas

Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with paper towel and pat dry with another paper towel.

Roasted Chickpeas

Remove the paper towels and now drizzle a bit of olive oil (about 1tsp per can) tossing them about to even the oil out. 

Roasted Chickpeas

Oven roast them at 400F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. I use a convection oven at 350F for about 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, take the baking sheet out and toss the chickpeas around. Do that every 10 minutes to make sure they roast evenly. Try one (remember to let it cool off first) and if the center is still moist and soft, roast it a bit longer.

Once they’re done, season immediately with salt, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne or whatever you wish (even cinnamon and sugar, if it’s sweet crunch that you’re craving.)

Finally Roasted

I like them seasoned with the smoked Pacific sea salt from Trader Joe’s (told ya to keep it handy) but anything goes. I want the kids to try it, so I didn’t add cayenne pepper this time.

The biggest mistake I made? Deciding to oven roast them on one of the hottest days of spring. It’s 97 degrees outside. I should be making popsicles. Oh well, I guess I’d enjoy my crunchy chickpeas with an ice-cold beer.


30 minute Honey Sesame Baked Salmon

30 min sesame honey baked salmon

This is a family favorite and you only need 30 minutes to get it done. We try to eat fish once or twice a week. Salmon is the kids and ‘hubs’ favorite fish. I’ve made baked salmon all sort of ways, but this is the winner.

The ‘Deal’:  Sprouts has this delicious super fresh Chilean salmon for $9.99 lb. this week.

Start by placing the salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Wipe the fish gently with a paper towel, removing excess juices and scales. Sprinkle 1/2  tsp salt over it and let it sit while you mix the sauce. Note: I used smoked sea salt from Trader Joe’s for extra flavor and I recommend having this delicious and super salty salt handy.

Baked Sesame Honey Salmon

Make the sauce

Sesame Homey Baked Salmon ingredients

For each 1 lb. of salmon you’ll need the following ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp Liquid Aminos or 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (I used black sesame oil)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Mix all the ingredients well and pour sauce over the salmon slowly, making sure all sides are cover.

Honey Sesame Baked Salmon 30 min

Here is the “dirty little secret” for this recipe. I added 1/2 tbsp of MAYO after fish absorbed the sauce for a couple of minutes to seal the taste and add some evilness to such a clean recipe (Mayo is optional but it tastes so much better with it. It’s only 1/2 tbsp but it’s worthy! Just sayin’)

Honey Sesame Baked Salmon 30 mi

Spread the Mayo like you mean it, until the fish is covered with a brownish homogeneous coat. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds to taste and let it bake for about 20 minutes at 400-420F. The sauce around it will burn due to the honey at high temp, but don’t panic. The salmon should be cooked through, crispy on the sides and moist in the inside.

Honey Sesame Baked Salmon 30 min

To place salmon on a serving dish, gently run a thin spatula between the fish and the skin. The salmon skin should remain stuck to the foil and the spatula should run easily under the fish.

We ate our salmon tonight with a side of jasmine brown rice and steamed broccoli but we also love it with coucous and quinoa. If you happen to have any leftover, ad it to a salad. It tastes great cold too!

Happy Healthy Eating everyone (minus the MAYO)




Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Although I don’t seem to need a gluten free diet, I love to explore the paleo/gluten-free/primal/against all grains world. As I mentioned before here, I do believe that eliminating SOME gluten makes SOME difference on my energy, mood and craving levels. Also, my belly seems to be happier and flatter when I stay away from bread and all things deliciously glutinous.

These muffins turned out delicious. They were moist and not overly sweet. I decided to obey to my 7-year-old daughter’s wisdom and I topped the muffins with peanut butter chips from Trader Joe’s (probably NOT a gluten free food.) Perfect addition!

I don’t like baking (remember?) I suck at it. Interestingly, most of the gluten free baking recipes I’ve tried have worked so far…hum…except for the minute microwave mug cake that I ate anyway. So I’m going to listen to the coconut and almond flour universe more often and keep trying new gluten-free recipes. Happy chef and happy belly!

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Muffins
  • 4 bananas (the riper, the better)
  • 4 small eggs
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's creamy salted PB)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup (can substitute for honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with Pam or vegetable oil. In a large bowl, using a hand blender, blend the bananas, eggs, almond butter, almond milk, agave/honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend into the wet mixture. Place the batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (I overcooked mines a bit but they still came out moist and delicious.)
Top with chocolate and/or peanut butter chips before baking for extra sweetness.


Fresh Blueberry Crostini with Lemon Honey Whipped Goat Cheese

Fresh Blueberry Crostini with Lemon Honey Whipped Goat Cheese

I’m going to spare everyone from the whole palate sensation description shenanigans. Next time I’m looking for an appetizer that is easy to make and delicious, I need to remember this recipe.

Fresh Blueberry Crostini with Lemon Honey Whipped Goat Cheese
  • 30 slices French baguette bread cut in ½ in. thick slices (I used La Brea French Baguette)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. creamy goat cheese room temperature (I used low fat goat cheese from TJs)
  • 1 tbsp refined sugar
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small box of fresh blueberries
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Brush bread slices with olive oil and bake it until golden brown. I happened to have the grill on and I grilled the bread instead of toasting it. Either way works.
  2. In a separate bowl place washed and pat dried blueberries. Sprinkle the sugar and salt (yes!!! Salt) evenly. Reserve.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together manually or with a had mixer the goat cheese, lemon juice and honey until fluffy.
  4. Assemble by spreading a little bit of the whipped goat cheese in each crostini (make sure crostini has time to cool off a bit) and top it with 2 or 3 blueberries. Add more whipped goat cheese if you have any left (or as many as you can make it fit).



Black Rice with Kale, Mushrooms, Marsala Wine and Feta Cheese

Heirloom Forbidden Rice Package

This ‘black rice’ came in my Easter basket and to tell you the truth I thought it was just wild rice. I was not excited. Disappointed even.  As I put the bag in the pantry, I briefly read the package description…which led to Google search…that proved I live under a rock. As it turns out this Heirloom forbidden rice is NOT wild rice and it’s the healthiest rice in the world.  How haven’t I heard of it?

Down to the facts. Heirloom forbidden rice (aka black rice) has high level of minerals, antioxidants, is rich in a class of flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are potent anti-inflammatories and have specifically been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer as well as improvements in memory.

Best of all, black rice taste a zillion times better than white or brown rice. It’s nutty, slightly sweet and it looks way sexier than any other rice.

This rice is not cheap so if you want to make it ‘dealicious’ keep checking the Whole Foods bulk section (it goes on sale sometimes) or try Cost Plus World Market where the one I got seems to come from.

There are good recipes out there for black rice but I had to use the kale and mushrooms in the fridge, so I came up with this recipe. It was the perfect side for our baked salmon.  Any type of kale would work for this recipe, but I used Earthbound Organic Baby Kale from Costco. Broccoli rabe (Rapini) or spinach would work too.

Black Rice, Kale, Mushroom with Marsala rice and Feta


Black Rice with Kale, Mushrooms, Marsala Wine and Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup uncooked heirloom forbidden rice
  • ½ medium purple onion, chopped
  • 2 cups crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups of raw baby kale
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Marsala wine
  • ¼ cup of crumbed goat cheese or feta cheese
  • 2¾ cups of beef broth or water (to cook the rice)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • black pepper
  1. Start by cooking the rice with the beef broth in the rice cook. If you don’t have a rice cook, simply follow the directions in the package replacing the water with beef broth. If you don’t have directions (bought it in bulk) bring beef broth to a boil and add the rice. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes in medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand covered. Reserve.
  2. On a separate pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it becomes translucent. Add mushrooms and Marsala wine. Cook for about 3 minutes and add kale, salt and some pepper. Cook until kale reduces its size and looks fully steamed. Turn heat off. Add the cooked black rice mixing it well. Taste and adjust with more salt and/or pepper. Cover and let it stand for a few minutes, allowing the rice to absorb the kale/mushrooms/Marsala wine juice. Sprinkle the cheese over the rice before serving.