To Market, To (Farmer’s) Market

What better way to start your weekend than at a farmer’s market? If I could just live in a farmer’s market 24/7, I would (well, actually a duplex comprised of half farmer’s market and half library would be ideal, but I don’t want to get picky).

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There is a fantastic market near our apartment that is open every Saturday morning (once the arctic tundra dies down). It’s educational seeing the produce change slightly every week, and I love that there is time to chat with and meet the farmers while you are shopping. Plus, there are almost always happy dogs, cute kids,and live music, which is a trifecta in my book.

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This week, I ended up with some great produce to enjoy throughout the week, and picked up some extras on the way home for an on-the-spot summer picnic.

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  • Food recently acquired at the farmer’s market
  • Whatever you want from Taco Bell
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)

1) Stop at Taco Bell on your way home from the Farmer’s Market

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2) Take your all your goodies home with you

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3) If it’s nice enough, set up outside (inside works for this recipe as well)

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4) Keep bag of farmer’s market produce close, promising yourself you’ll get to it tomorrow in order to karmically balance your current life choices

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Something for Everyone

It’s pretty awesome that in a world full of varied dietary restrictions, allergies, and preferences, there really is something for everyone. Back in the day, when I decided to opt out of meat & dairy, I was really blown away by all the options that I still had access to (some better than others, to be honest, but still).

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Because people in my life have been gracious and thoughtful in regard to my food preferences, I try and be thoughtful about dishes I prepare. I want to make sure most people will be able to enjoy themselves, food-wise. This can get difficult when everyone’s guidelines get thrown into the mix. “Well, Malcolm is gluten-free, Shirley only eats organic, Tasha is vegan, Kendall prefers local food, Brenica is lactose intolerant, and Jerry doesn’t eat any food with more than five letters.”

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I’m happy to report that one of my absolute favorite snacks in the world is pretty flexible for most food values. You can opt for organic or local versions of the ingredients; it’s vegan, vegetarian & gluten-free; if you are cutting down on carbs (lord help you) you’re golden; if you have a peanut allergy…um…skip the steps involving peanut butter and you’ll be fine, I think.

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  • 1 spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 spoonful of jelly
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)

1) Procure peanut butter & jelly that fit with your dietary preferences

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2) Dip your spoon in the peanut butter

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3) Dip your spoon in the jelly

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4) Enjoy!

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Chopped Challenge

Food Network is slowly taking over the world. Or, at least, our Hulu channel at home. What will the dueling chefs do with their secret ingredient of…SEAWEED? Will that chef finally listen to the judges and get a bandanna so he quits sweating all over his fancy risotto? Is that super tall cake shaped like Sponge Bob going to fall over and more importantly, will that lady with the downturned mouth even dain to look at it?


My current favorite is Chopped, where competing chefs receive a mystery basket with various ingredients and need to prepare a dish for judges to…judge. The main thing I’ve gleaned from the show so far is to be wary of using the ice cream maker for your dessert, and that if the judges are watching you from behind their fingers, you’ve probably burned something.


Even though I don’t have a basket with a top, I always imagine being on the show (although with my luck, that episode the basket would be full of artisianal hand soaps or something). Nonetheless, I wanted to create my own Chopped challenge. I went into my kitchen, picked 4 ingredients at random, and just went for it.

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  • 4-5 rando ingredients (probably better if someone picks them out for you, but do what you can)
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)

1) Take in the ingredients in front of you – bonus points if you look at them wide-eyed, maybe chewing your lip contemplatively

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2) Start taking apart ingredients, trying out a little taste here and there to figure out flavor profiles

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3) However you decide to prepare the ingredients, you need to run around and yell “Behind you!” (even if you are by yourself – it helps up the ante)

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4) Make sure your hands are shaking as you arrange stuff on the plate – you won’t look legit if you don’t have a little shake going on

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5) One of your ingredients should be used as a flourish – which usually means scraped against the plate in a semi-purposeful fashion

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6) Enjoy! Your dish will vary depending on the ingredients, but for this example I came up with: Orange Slices with a Cauliflower Floret Accompaniment, followed by a Trail Mix Chaser and Don’t Do Anything With That Relish It’s Just Decoration

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What say you, Ted Allen?


Brunch Bliss

I think it was somewhere in my mid-twenties that all the fanfare about meeting for late night drinks morphed into meeting for mid-morning brunch. 11am sunlight trumped 11pm moonlight/streetlight, 2-4-1 mimosas trumped 2-4-1 rail whiskeys; plus breakfast is the best meal of the day anyway (besides snacks), so the more attention paid to it, the better.

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I totally get it. Being able to sleep in without feeling like you’re missing out, because you aren’t meeting for breakfast. You are meeting for *brunch*. You get to have alcohol with your pancakes and no one bats an eye. AND if you braid your hair you can joke with your friends that you’re part of the “Braidy Brunch,” and everyone will laugh at your cleverness.

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I was so pleased when I discovered that I could serve up brunch in my very own home. Although I love heading out to dine, I also am on a tight budget, so having the option to prepare a lovely brunch in my kitchen is most welcome. I’ve included one of my favorite brunch recipes that I’ve perfected, but please feel free to share your own. The more brunch, the merrier!

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  • 1-2 bowl’s worth of cereal (do not pay attention to the serving size on the box – that won’t work for anyone)
  • 1-2 bowl’s worth of milk
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)

1) Realize you slept in and are hungry, which are the qualifiers for brunch

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2) Pour cereal into bowl until you feel satisfied

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3) Pour milk into bowl until you feel satisfied

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4) Enjoy brunching!

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Sensory Celebration

It is amazing what memories and feelings come up from just one scent or sound or taste. The smell of fresh cut grass = summer memories. A sip of boxed wine = first official hangover memories. A waft of pipe tobacco being smoked = loved grandparent memories. The first strains of that song you listened to on repeat after the break-up = ugly crying memories (or maybe currently happening don’t worry about it I’m fine).

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Well, get your senses ready, friends, because it’s time to celebrate America, America-style. A lot of people are getting ready to fire up grills and slap on suntan lotion and set off firecrackers so close to your house it’s almost horrible but it’s not because freedom. I’m extra lucky, because my 4th’o’July celebration extends three extra days – three of my favorite people have birthdays lined up right in a row following the fireworks.

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I have so many sights/smells/tastes wrapped up in my memories of celebrating the 4th of July w/a 3 birthday bonus. In addition to the typical traditional tastes of grilled meats and corn on the cob, is carrot cake. This dessert is a favorite of the July 5th birthday girl, my amazing mother. Here’s a sneak peek at a carrot cake recipe I’ve prepped in the past that just might find it’s way into the birthday celebration this year – bonus: it’s 70% organic!

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  • 1 Carrot Cake LUNA bar
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)

1) Obtain LUNA bar with proper amounts of organic ingredients

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2) Open the wrapper

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3) Take the bar out of the wrapper

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4) Place a celebratory candle up on there, and enjoy!

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