Leek Gratin

This is my new favorite way to cook and eat leeks.  My Dad made this on a whim, without a recipe, for Christmas dinner and it was amazing, no leftovers at all!  You can easily make double this recipe, which is what I did since I had a whole bunch of leeks from my Dad’s garden and wanted to cook them up all at once.  I cooked all the leeks, about 10 cups total, and baked half right away.  The next day I baked the other half for another dinner.  This is a nice addition to a pot luck dinner and if you do have leftovers they are great hot or cold.  Prepping the leeks takes the longest, especially if you are getting them from your root cellar and not fresh from the store.  Leeks are a great storage veggie, as you can easily peel off the less pretty outer layers and find a perfectly preserve leek inside!

leek gratin 1


5 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only

Salt and pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons pasture butter

1 large egg

a shy 1/2 cup cream or half and half


Prepare the leeks: strip away any rotten or damaged outer layrs, slice off the root tip and trim the top to the light green part.  Thinly slice all the leeks until you have about 5 cups.

leek gratin 2

Preheat the oven to 355 degrees.

In a large sauce pan or pot, I used my enamel coated cast iron soup pot, add the butter, sliced leeks and sprinkle with salt, then add as much black pepper as you like.

Over medium low flame, sweat the leeks until they are just past bright green, cooked though and reduced dramatically in size.

leek gratin 3

leek gratin 4

Let the leeks cool.

Whip together the egg and heavy cream.

Combine the egg, cream and cooked, cooled, leeks in glass or ceramic baking dish, I used a 1.5 liter pyrex square.

Spead the mixture evenly and top with a sprinkling of cheese, Gruyere is my favorite!

leek gratin 5

Bake the gratin until it’s set and staring to brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.  You can brown the cheese under the broiler at the end if that sounds good to you.  Enjoy!


Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

It’s that time of year again when everyone is talking about setting goals or making new resolutions. If you are like so many people who set goals in the New Year only to find them somehow impossible to follow though with, this guide is for you!  So many times in my life I have tried changing a bunch of things at once, only to fail at everything.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is a way to set yourself up for success because how you go about setting goals can make all the difference. When I was working as a health coach one of the most important things I would tell my clients is to set just one goal at a time and use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. Goals as a guide.

When you set one goal and focus all of your energy on it, you are much more likely to succeed.  This guide is great for small goals and can also help you break down big goals into smaller, more manageable steps.  You don’t get to the mountain top in one leap, it takes many small steps to add up to big accomplishments.  So what does S.M.A.R.T. stand for?



S is for Specific.  Let’s say you want to get more exercise on a regular basis.  That’s a great goal but it’s pretty vague. A more specific goal would be: I want to get a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.  Even more specific: I want to run or do yoga at home for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday.  I will schedule this into my weeks calendar to make sure I have the time.  Now that’s specific!

M stands for Measurable.  A successful goal is one that can be easily measured and answers the questions How much? How many?  Using my specific goal above, I can measure both the frequency and the duration of my workouts. This is how I will know I am hitting my goal or if I need to make some adjustments so that I can hit my goal.

A is for Achievable.  Is your goal something that you can, with a little stretching, actually reach?  You want to aim for something in between too easy and too challenging.  Experiment and see, sometimes a more challenging goal is also more motivating!

R stands for Realistic or Relevant.  If you don’t exercise at all, setting a goal of five workouts a week is really not realistic.  Scale things back until you can realistically, with some stretching and commitment, reach your goal.  Start with 1-2 workouts per week.  Once you reach that level of fitness, try for 3-4 per week and so on until you hit your big goal.  A relevant goal is one that matters to you that you are both willing and able to work towards achieving it! Beware of setting goals based on “I should…”  We can all list 100 things we ‘should’ be doing, things that usually have more to do with others than with our true desires.  Make sure your goal is for you, think “I want, I need or I desire” as ways to state your goal.

T is for Timely or Time-Bound.  With my exercise goal I would want to set a date at which I will be regularly hitting my goal.  Let’s say I pick a deadline of February 1st, giving me a month to sort out all the details and get into this new workout routine.  An end date for your goal gives you something to work towards.  It gives urgency to your work and a clear deadline for completion.  Then you can celebrate your success and set up a new goal!

Each goal you set and achieve will set you up for your next goal.  Each one a small step towards a bigger picture: a more fully realized version of who you really are.  Think of how quickly each little change you make will add up into major positive changes over the course of a few months or a year.

One last thing, be sure to share your goal and your deadline with people who support you in making positive changes.  Knowing your friends are rooting for you, and will be asking you how things are going, can be a huge motivator!






Wicked Simple Sauerruben Recipe

Fire Cider Recipes

Lacto-fermented veggies are very easy to make, full of good for you probiotics and are a nice balance to the rich, warm foods we have begun eating for the fall and winter.  Sauerruben is made just like sauerkraut, only instead of shredded cabbage you’ll be thinly slicing baby turnips. This method is a very easy way to preserve the end of harvest bounty by making it even more nutritious and flavorful.  The sauerruben will last for months in the fridge, if you don’t eat it all in the first few weeks!


-Salt, 2 tsp per pound of veggies.

-Turnips, sliced or shredded. After much experimenting, I prefer sliced when using smaller, tender turnips. The turnips in this picture are delicious sweet, tender Hakurei turnips from our friends at Woven Roots Farm in Lee, MA.

Options per Quart mason jar-
1-2 clove garlic

and/or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


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You Need This: Bee’s Wrap

I am always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. At home and at work, I know how important it is to shop responsibly. When it comes to the kitchen and our home environment in general, there are a lot of ways to save money and reduce our impact on the earth. Fact: I have not bought or used plastic wrap in YEARS! Same with paper towels and plastic bags. Yes, you can live without those throw away products. And yes, there are alternatives that are healthier for you and for the environment all while saving you money, check it out:

Let’s say you pay $2.49 for a 100 foot roll of SaranWrap. So if you use 8 rolls a year, that costs you $19.92. You will use all the plastic wrap, a few feet at a time, slowly throwing away the entire roll. Yes, you just paid for garbage that will now spend decades not rotting in a landfill. Same goes for those sandwich bags, zip lock bags, paper towels, you get the idea. It’s all garbage, it’s all going to end up in a landfill polluting the earth that we rely on for food, clean water, clean air, you know, life as we know it.

Now consider a 3 pack of Bee’s Wrap for $18 which will last for a full year and when it’s done keeping your groceries fresh, you can compost it and it will become part of next years garden. Or use it as a fire starter in your wood stove. It’s a little less money and zero waste. Bee’s Wrap is made from organic cotton infused with bee’s wax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Plus you get to feel really good about yourself by supporting a sustainable, earth friendly business instead of a mega corporation that produces trash. Everyone wins!

Paper towels and paper napkins are an even easier fix, instead of buying and throwing away toxic bleached paper products that are stripping our land of oxygen producing plants, you can buy some washable kitchen towels and napkins and turn your clothes that are too far gone into rags for messier projects. And when you absolutely need to you can use bamboo towels that can be washed and reused as well. Bambooee is the brand that I recommend. On their site they state this: Trees are being cut down at an unsustainable rate and 3,000 tons of paper towel waste are produced per day. (According to the US Environmental Protection Agency).

Here are my rules for shopping- is this healthy for me, is it made by a company that is in alignment with my values, is it earth friendly ie is the product and it’s packaging biodegradable, recyclable or reusable? If the answers are all yes, then buy it! There are 313.9 million people in this country, if we each do a little, it will add up to a lot more resources for us all to enjoy for many generations to come. So make the switch, save money and our planet, how’s that for multitasking?!

Fall Favorite: Cauliflower 3 Ways

Now that Fall is officially here I’ve been getting into some new recipes for one of the seasons most versatile vegetables: cauliflower and her cousin, romanesco.  Part of the Cruciferous family, one cup of cauliflower has more than 73% of your daily vitamin c!  Cauliflower can also help you to detox, it’s got anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent source of dietary fiber.  As you’ll see from the wide variety of recipes I’ve gathered here, cauliflower is super versatile and full of as much flavor as nutrition.  Happy Autumn eating!


My first recipe suggestion is to make rice out of cauliflower, a low carbohydrate, high fiber, nutrient packed alternative to a grain side dish.  I’ve eaten this rice as a side with baked chicken, in lettuce wraps with shredded pork, basically it can be substituted anywhere you’d usually use rice.  How cool is that?  Check out this super simple recipe on LowCarbSlowCarb.com under, you guessed it, Cauliflower Rice!


Next up, Cauliflower Steaks.  This recipe was sent to me by a friend who I have shared many a steak tartare and pork chop with so I knew it had to be delicious.  I was a bit skeptical but he assured me this was no wimpy vegan alternative, it’s filling, awesome plant food thank you very much!  The recipe I like best comes from JaxHouse.com aka Jacky Hackett, a food enthusiast mom blogger.  You can find her simple and easy recipe under ‘Cauliflower Steak au Poivre.  The trick is using your cast iron skillet in a very hot oven and the results are wickedly good.


This last recipe is sure to convert you to the power of what you used to think of as a bland white vegetable: The Cauliflower Grill Cheese.  Yes, it’s gluten free, it’s a full serving of veggies and it’s got a gooey cheese center.  This recipe can be found on TheIronYou.com a blog run by a guy named Mike who thinks we could all eat better and exercise more for a more awesome us, I think he’s onto something!  Search for ‘Cauliflower Grilled Cheese’ and you’ll find a recipe for what will become one of your fall favorites, no matter what your relationship is to gluten.  Pair this with a hot bowl of tomato soup and call it lunch.

Pallet Garden and Hops Update

Fire Cider Recipes

Our little pallet garden has been growing strong, we’ve picked a bunch of cilantro and made a few salads with all the greens.  The radishes never make it into the house, got to have something to eat while I’m picking food for a meal!

Baby lettuces are delicious! Baby lettuces are delicious!

Meanwhile, our garden in Richmond has turned into a Comfrey field.  And while Comfery is an amazing medicinal plant, it can not be eaten and it choked out all the rest of our plants!

Dana whacking back the Comfrey, perhaps next year we'll grow vegetables?! Dana whacking back the Comfrey, perhaps next year we’ll grow vegetables?!

We covered the whole garden up and will see if we can get a fresh start next spring.  What our garden at Green Means Farm lacked in vegetables this year, it made up for in hops, four different varieties, although the Cascades are doing the best by far!

Picking hops really makes me want to drink a beer, they smell so good! Picking hops really makes me want to drink a…

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Zucchini and Basil Sautee

Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces.

Zucchini chopped into bite sized pieces.

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy all the zucchini that’s super fresh right now.  And it’s really easy, just some time and a few ingredients and you’ve got a healthy delicious side dish or meal to go picnicking with!




Butter and/or Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese


Chop up some onion, I usually use about a 1 to 4 ratio of onion to zucchini.

Add the chopped onion, a few pinches of salt (go easy on the salt if you plan to add cheese to the finished dish, which I highly recommend!) and a healthy dose of butter and olive oil to a heavy bottom pan, the wider the pan the better.   You’ll start with a lot of fat in the pan to cook the onions and then when you add the zucchini you can decide if you need to add more.  Cook the onions on medium heat.

While the onions cook, chop your zucchini.  I make some pieces smaller than others so when it cooks, the smaller bits get mushy and the larger bits keep their shape so you don’t end up with baby food.  Or maybe you end up with baby food, it’s really delicious either way!

Start with chopped onion and plenty of butter.

Start with chopped onion and plenty of butter.

When the onions begin to look translucent, add in the zucchini, some black pepper and saute, stirring all the while, til smushy and starting to brown on med to medium high heat.

Sautee the zucchini and onions

Saute the zucchini and onions

Once you’ve cooked the zucchini down, it will release a lot of water, so plan on stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes til you get a nice, thick consistency.  Take it off the heat and serve topped with fresh chopped basil and shredded hard cheese like Romano.  This tastes great warm or at room temperature and makes a nice take along meal for picnic’s or pot lucks.

Topped with cheese and ready to eat or take on a picnic!

Topped with cheese and ready to eat or take on a picnic!

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