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Carmageddon Hijinks – Earth Wind & Fire Salad


Two weekends ago I made three things and had high hopes of posting all three recipes BUT was unable because of CARMAGEDDON!!!!!!! Well, actually, Beamageddon. Bea started crawling. I’m blaming her for problems with the recipes. And the pictures. Anyway, these were all good hot weather dishes.

Here’s one of our favorites given to me by Joy Armagost who is not only an excellent cook but also an outstanding FARMER. Earth, Wind & Fire Salad is a hearty, fresh & tasty salad. Every time I take it to a cookout or serve it at home I get a lot of compliments.


You’ll need these ingredients for the salad. The only ones you might have trouble finding are the wheat berries. I get them at Whole Foods but they don’t have them at the Ralph’s near our house.

Salad ingredients:
1/2 c wheat berries
1 c wild rice
2 green onions (what we call scallions)
1, 2 or 3 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow & 1 orange for looks!)
1 c edamame (Fresh is best but I had these frozen ones so I used ‘em – boiled in microwave with salt!)

The time-consuming part is making the rice & wheat berries. I simmer them according to package directions on the stove for 45-60 minutes – just keep checking them after 45 mins. I think Joy used a rice cooker which is probably a lot more efficient but I wanted to cook them both at the same time. Also, she is a lot more organized than I am. Btw: you can do this a day before and store in fridge b/c you’ll want them cold for the salad anyway.

Chop up those peppers.

What is that haunting specter? Oh, water on the lens.

There it is AGAIN!! I thought I got it.

Here is one way to cut peppers. I am only slightly embarrassed to admit I learned this from the BEST SOURCE OF EDUCATION IN THE WORLD! – TV. Yes, I saw it on Top Chef. Cut the top off first. It will look like this.
(Who left the flash on??)

After removing the stem I give the tops to Maddie who thinks they are edible flowers. I definitely don’t like to waste the tops no matter what the folks at Top Chef tell me.

Then scoop out the inside.
Dang that flash!

Now chop in relatively thin strips. I like to get rid of all the “white stuff.” And dice.
Check this out.


Which looks better? You know the answer.

How pretty!

Chop scallions any old way!

Add peppers to a large bowl (preferably a salad bowl if you have one handy) and toss with the chilled rice & wheat berries. Keep green onions/scallions separate. They can get slimey! (Yes, I know, I combined them but don’t be like me!)

This is where my photography goes wayyyyyyy downhill. Things got hectic in the kitchen so it’s all downhill from here.

Dressing Ingredients

1 tbsp red chili paste (I believe you could substitute that red rooster sauce if you have it – “Sriracha”)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c sesame seed oil
2 tbsp sherry
1-2 tsp rice vinegar
1/3 c low salt soy sauce

Wisk these ingredients together & taste! Adjust anything you like (i.e. if you like it spicier add more chili paste!)

Omit the chili paste/rooster sauce if you don’t want it spicy.

At the last minute, combine everything! Mmmmmm this is so good!

Between missed photo ops & flash malfunctions, I hope what I DID post inspires you to try this salad! It gets easier & easier to make. Somehow, I neglected to take a pic of the final product.

I DID get this shot though:

If you try this please let us know about any improvements you made in the comment section below! (On blog, not on Facebook so Zuckerberg won’t own it!) Thank you & enjoy!

Earth Wind & Fire Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6

Spicy, colorful, fresh & wholesome salad that will fill you up & wow your guests!
  • ½ c wheatberries
  • 1 c wild rice
  • 2 green onions
  • 1, 2 or 3 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow – not green)
  • 1 c edamame
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste (adjust to taste – can also substitute Rooster (Sriracha) sauce)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ c sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1-2 tsp rice vinegar
  • ⅓ c soy sauce

  1. Chop peppers & scallions.
  2. Cook rice & wheat berries according to package instructions. (These can even be cooked a day ahead & stored in fridge.)
  3. Combine chopped peppers, green onions, rice, wheat berries & edamame in a large bowl.
  4. Combine chili paste, brown sugar, sesame seed oil, sherry, rice vinegar & soy sauce in a small bowl. (This is your dressing!)
  5. Toss salad with as little or as much dressing as you like! If you won’t serve it for a while – hold the green onions out until the last minute.
  6. Enjoy!


FBB (Fatty’s Banana Bread) – Best Banana Bread Ever!

Hi Y’all!

What do you do when the bananas start going brown?

Apparently, not wipe the table. But that’s another story… what I do is whip up the BEST BANANA BREAD ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Aka Fatty’s Banana Bread (Fatty referring to the banana bread only of course). This is a recipe my dear friend Nina Viswanathan gave me over a decade ago. And believe me, Nina KNOWS her banana bread. It’s very easy to make!

Want to try it?


Gather these ingredients:

But wait, something’s missing! The most important ingredient.

I keep a bag of chocolate chips in my baking drawer but they sure weren’t here today when I looked. I need to find a better hiding spot. Luckily Trader Joe’s is 3 blocks from me so I threw Bea under my arm and strode down there.

3 over-ripe bananas
1 egg
1 stick butter (D’OH!)
1 c sugar
1.5 c flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 to 1 c chocolate chips

First: preheat oven to 350

(I can’t believe I took a picture of that!)

& lightly grease a loaf pan.

Melt butter.

Mash bananas in a medium to large bowl.

Don’t use a fork for this. Trust me.

Ahhh, that’s better.

Add melted butter & egg and combine well. I actually used a hand mixer but was unable to photograph it as my free hand was holding the bowl while batter splattered across my shirt.

Sift together flour, salt & baking soda, then slowly combine with wet ingredients. Full disclosure: I never sift together the dry ingredients – I just start adding things to the wet. I know it’s not the “right” way to do it but have you seen my sifter? Talk about a hand cramp.

Now add the chocolate chips. People: go for the full cup. You won’t regret it!

Oooooooooo just look at them…

Combine. And not with a spatula.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

Here it is from another angle in case you can’t get enough!

Thanks, Nina. This “bread” has brought so much joy to so many!

FBB (Fatty’s Banana Bread) – Best Banana Bread Ever!
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 


The most delicious, moist, chocolately banana bread in the world!
  • 3 over-ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick butter – melted
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Add melted butter & egg. Combine. (By hand or with mixer.)
  4. Add sugar & mix.
  5. Combine dry ingredients (salt, baking soda & flour) and slowly add to wet ingredients while mixing.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into buttered loaf pan & place in oven for 50-60 minutes. Top will get quite dark – stick a thin knife in. It should come out mostly clean.
  8. Yum!


Sweet Potato Pancakes with Backpack

This afternoon I got smart and put the baby in the backpack when she got ornery.

I still had to work pretty quickly though! I remembered a really good sweet potato pancake recipe I made a longggggg time ago from the Moosewood Cookbook so I decided to make them and I’m glad I did. The ingredients list is VERY simple for these! They’re really tasty AND good for you and you can reheat the next day. I did alter the recipe by adding regular potatoes and I planned to add grated carrots until I realized I didn’t have any. ;)

You can also make them with just the sweet potatoes or yams if that’s all you have…

You’ll need these ingredients:

And some of these:

And this stuff:

Oh yeah and this:

That’s a lemon from my tree. Now, before you detect smugness on my part at having a lemon tree, please realize it’s a dusty old, rooty old, grumpy old neglected lemon tree that yields about 3 lemons per YEAR. So let me enjoy this lemon, will you?

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes or yams
3 small potatoes (I had red potatoes so I threw them in just to use them up!)
1/2 onion
1 cup minced parsley
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 c flour
3 eggs (original recipe calls for 4 but I only had 3 and it worked out fine. 2 might even do.)
3-4 t lemon juice (I squeezed in about half a small lemon)
**NOTE: I would add 1 or 2 grated carrots if you have them!**

1. In a large bowl shred potatoes and onion (& carrots if you have ‘em) using food processor or the old fashioned way.

Keep going! Your arm will soon look like this:

Check on the kids every once in a while.

Fill up the compost!

2. Turn on heat in a seasoned skillet, large non-stick frying pan or electric skillet. (Basically, whatever you have!) Heat should be medium/high. If you use an electric skillet about 325 is pretty good.

2. Add flour, salt, lemon juice, pepper & parsley to bowl of shredded taters.

3. Beat eggs & add to potato mixture. Combine thoroughly.

4. Heat oil in skillet.

5. Plop large spoonfuls of the mixture into the skillet. Flatten with a spatula.

6. Fry until brown. Flip and add more oil as necessary.

Serve hot with sour cream, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, apple sauce or anything else that appeals to you!

Bea loves these through her food mill!

Maddie didn’t share her sentiments.

These taste like mashed potatoes but are a lot lighter & would be great served with a fresh green salad!

One-armed Spicy Lemon Broccoli Pasta

Garsh! I’m going crazy with the summer recipes but that’s because I wasn’t eating the healthiest last week.

I call this dish “One-armed” because I had use of only one arm whilst making most of this, what seemed a simple dish. What was my other arm doing, you ask? My other arm was both holding and struggling with/battling, and trying to keep safe a very cranky 10 month old with 4 teeth coming in all on the same day.

Hey, wouldn’t that be a fun “Top Chef” challenge?

“You have 30 minutes to make a pasta dish involving chopped vegetables with a squirming 22 lb baby in one arm. You lose if the baby burns or cuts herself!”

I think I’ll suggest it to the folks at Bravo.

Shall we get down to it? I found this recipe on Vegan Yum Yum. Don’t worry if you’re biased against vegan food – this is so yummy (or should I say Yum Yum Yummy?) and simple that everyone will like it.

First, you need these things:

This recipe makes enough for 4 people. The original recipe was for 1 serving so I adjusted the amounts.
- dry fettucini noodles (1 box)
- 1 head broccoli OR a 12 oz bag florets
- 1 c sun dried tomatoes in oil
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- 1/2 of a lemon
- olive oil

Get your water boiling in a pot for the pasta.

Chop your broccoli florets pretty small. The original recipe says to chop them the size of a quarter but since they aren’t in the shape of a quarter and I am spatially challenged I just cut them “SMALL.”

Slice tomatoes unless yours are already sliced as mine were. (Thanks, Trader Joe’s!) These are oily buggers so I’m glad I didn’t have to mess with them.

Oh, by the way, I barely took any pictures b/c of the one arm thing. That and my battery keeps falling out of the camera.

Throw pasta into boiling water. Should take about 10-12 minutes. Salt the water to your liking.

When pasta has about 6 minutes remaining, heat wok or skillet to medium high heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When oil is heated, add broccoli florets. Stir constantly to coat florets with oil. Add oil if necessary. After about 2 minutes, add tomatoes and crushed red pepper to your liking. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring.

Drain pasta & add pasta to skillet/wok. Sprinkle juice from half a lemon and combine. Taste and add more crushed pepper, fresh ground black pepper or lemon juice as desired!

Summer Pizza

Last night we got home from a few weeks visiting family & the beach in the Carolinas. I noticed the South has very little respect for those trying to practice a vegetarian diet or any kind of diet! OK. That’s unfair. We were in a pretty touristy place with amazing seafood so it was my own fault.

Anyway, when we got home I was looking forward to a) seeing my garden and b) eating something from my garden. I found this pizza recipe on and didn’t expect much from it but MAN oh MAN was it good!

It’s really easy too…

- pizza dough (I bought whole wheat pre-made from Trader Joe’s which was yummy)
- pesto (fresh is always best but I used some Trader Joe’s from a jar since I didn’t have time to make any)
- mozzarella
- tomatoes – either cherry tomatoes or 3 or 4 smallish tomatoes. The original recipe recommends Roma but I used my heirloom variety from my garden and I went for green, yellow & red for color.
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 c parmesan (I used pre-grated from Trader Joe’s – don’t overthink this too much. I didn’t.)
- 1/2 c corn (I used fresh which I just cut from about 2 ears but if you can’t get it use frozen.)
- basil (just enough to tear & sprinkle on top when the pizza comes out of the oven)

First: preheat oven to 450. NOTE: this is not a smart thing to do when it is hot out. But this IS a summer pizza. Does that mean you should make it in the summer or that your house will feel like it’s summer when you make it? For me both were true.

It was so exciting to find these in the garden when we got home! These are the tomatoes I ended up using.

Slice the tomatoes as thick or thin as you’d like on a pizza and sprinkle with salt & fresh ground pepper. Leave for about 20 mins. I just left them on the cutting board. But then of course I needed that same cutting board again for the cheese. But knowing me I’ll probably do that again next time!

Meanwhile, if you bought pre-made dough, take it out on a lightly floured surface and let it “rest” for about 20 minutes. Since you are waiting on the tomatoes anyway you can now work on the corn.

Slice the corn off about 1.5 to 2 cobs. Mix in bowl with the sugar & parmesan cheese.

Look at timer to see how much time you have. Run out back to turn off the sprinklers. Totally forget about the pizza, oven, tomatoes & resting dough and start talking to the neighbor about how to make mimosas. Hear a child screaming herself awake from nap, remember the pizza, oven, tomatoes and resting dough. Run back inside.

When 20 mins are up – stretch or roll dough. I actually gave it a few tries up in the air, Italian style but I got too nervous, knowing full well how long it’s been since the kitchen floor was scrubbed. Place on a lightly greased pizza stone or if you don’t have one, a cookie sheet.

Spread thin layer of pesto atop the dough. (I was an English major so I like to say things like “atop” when I can.)

Slice mozzarella and place on top of pesto. Then add tomatoes. Next time I might put the corn under the cheese & the tomatoes on top but I’m not sure why. Just to say I did it.

Finally, spoon corn mixture on top. (At least that’s what I did.)

And pop in oven for 15 minutes. Make sure your oven was at 450 before you put it in!


Save some for Daddy…

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