Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fresh Start Grill off Champions | A Porked out Waffle + Chutney

More Guts More Glory.

I almost said no. I had never competed in a cooking contest before. Could I pull it off? Would I embarrass myself? Who am I -Just a passionate Food Ambassador and home chef... not professional- to do something like this?

And then, of course, I started thinking about athletic competition... the challenge, the unknown, the thrill, getting to meet new people... and I thought about how I coach my pitchers, how I want them to mentally and physically show up on the mound amidst fear & unknown outcomes...  I thought about how much I love talking to people about food, how many successful market demonstrations I have been a part of (thank you Melissa!!) and my love for spreading awareness of Jamie Oliver's global Food Revolution Campaign.

Well, hell YES I'll do it.

I didn't want to cook alone (It's so much more fun pitching to a catcher!). Enter in Christina Erickson, amazing girlfriend, Lake County Food Revolution teammate and Stevenson High School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher. Thank you for saying YES and for teaching me how to start a grill with charcoal!

Throw like a girl.
Grill like a girl.

We planned (Christina's husband Kurt was a fellow brainstormer), we tested (Chris and Kurt both about passed out from the gloriousness of our dish), we conquered. 

So without further ado, here she is in her full paper plated glory.

Introducing the Fresh Start Business Incubator's 3rd annual Grill Off Champion Dish! 

A Porked-out Waffle + Chutney 
I try and cook with as many organic ingredients as possible to protect gut health. Veggies are best but sometimes, you need a little comfort food.
Recipe is listed in layered order. 

• A gluten free waffle + bacon

3.5 c Pamela's Gluten free flour pancake mix (Pamela's all-purpose flour mix is awesome too (batter will be much thicker FYI. Just increase baking powder to 2 T.)
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 organic, pasture raised egg yolks (whites separated into another bowl)
3.5 c organic rice milk (regular dairy milk works fine too)
1 c organic butter (avocado or coconut oil works well to make it completely dairy free)
1 package cooked and rough chopped Applegate's Organic Sunday Bacon

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Whisk in vanilla, egg yolks and rice milk. Whisk in melted butter (My Grandma Dorothy's top waffle tip: If using hot butter, do this last as it will clump if you do it before the cold milk!). Let batter sit and thicken up for at least 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, whip up the egg yolks into stiff peaks. Fold in egg whites + bacon bits. (Tip: You should have little clumps of egg whites throughout your batter.)

• 12 hour honey marinated pork tenderloin
(I could only find hormone + nitrate free within my budget. I sure wish I could have found antibiotic free!)

For every two pork tenderloins, marinate them in a plastic gallon bag with the following ingredients:
1/2 c local honey
1/2 c organic gluten free soy sauce
1.5 lemons juiced
4-5 small cloves of garlic

• An organic nectarine, peach and plum chutney (Inspired from this recipe.)

1 cup organic goji berries
1.5 c organic diced onions
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sea salt
6 organic nectarines pitted and diced
6 organic peaches pitted and diced
4 organic plums pitted and diced
1/2 c organic maple syrup
1 c organic lemon juice
1 c organic apple vinegar
4 cloves garlic rough chopped

Dump everything a big stock pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced to your desired "chutney" thickness. Christina and I decided to puree this, however you can certainly leave it chunky for your dish!

• Organic apples (sliced into matchsticks)

Sage salt (Christina and I chopped up my fresh kitchen garden sage!)

• Organic maple syrup (just a drizzle)

Big thanks to Mariano's Market (Thank you Manager Gary at the Meat Counter!) for making my shopping so easy, ONE STOP and under budget!

To Rebekka, John, Bruce, Zach, Phillip and David - on behalf of Christina and myself, it was a pleasure to meet + cook + eat with you all!

We'll see you next year, for Christina and I now have a trophy to defend!!!!

To the mullies we go,


Have a dream of starting your own business but need a little help? The Fresh Start Business Incubator program is and here for YOU (Link to their incredible wealth of FREE services here). 


It was the biggest batch of waffles I have ever made;)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Fremont Garden Tasting - Lemon Zucchini Ribbons


Zucchini noodles are one of my favorite things to make and eat. And it was certainly one of the favorite dishes at our Fremont Community Garden tasting event! Garnished with garden flowers and pantry item staples from Mundelein's very own Corner Health Foods Store it was truly a work of edible art!

I hope you enjoy Terri's beautiful Lemon Zucchini Ribbon recipe today and we hope you are inspired to eat a little more from the garden each week - "More guts more glory" I say!

Feel free to tag us in your zucchini ribbon creations on Facebook or Instagram - We'd love to see what you make - it lights us up to see YOUR plates!

Zoodles up Terri!!

To the Mullies we go,


After I bought the above zucchinis from the Prairie Farm Corps stand at the Libertyville Farmer's Market, we powered down some of dear Jared's Nomad Food Company pies today... man were they good. And the Aqua Frescas?!?!?  Pure raspberry, farm honey and lemon balm heaven in a jar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soffritto Sister Diaries | A Fremont Garden Tasting - Sage Sea Salt

Terri and I are so excited to begin posting alongside each other today! We'll be sharing a series of blogs about our Summer of 2016 adventures together nice and slow...

Just how we think you should cook a beautiful soffritto.

Mixing fresh herbs with sea salt was something Terri taught me a long time ago and it's simply wonderful. We hope you enjoy using this simple, beautiful technique to spice up your recipes too!

Enjoy and hop on over to my soffritto sister's blog so you can make some too!

Terri's Sage Sea Salt in a Jar

Stay tuned, there will be more recipes to come from that wonderful morning at Fremont Community Garden - Thank you again for having us Alicia!!

To the Mullies we go,

Don't be afraid of recipes with european measurements:)
20 grams = 1.5 Tbsp
I love this handy conversion website.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Soffritto Lasagna | No Design Waste

Gosh I love making lasagna. I cheated this time and used some jarred tomato sauce as we were playing + crafting all day and I did not have any tomatoes on hand. I hope this recipe makes you want to make it to for your family table:) 

A Soffritto Lasagna

2-3 carrots diced
3 celery or chard ribs diced
1 onion diced
2-3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Gluten free no bake lasagna noodles (I love Capello's brand so much!)
25-32 oz homemade or jarred tomato sauce (try my plum gumption tomato sauce! Or this super easy Food Revolution Classic Tomato Sauce)
1 block swiss gruyere cheese shredded
1/4 c freshly grated, high quality parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the soffritto of diced vege (carrots, celery/chard, onion) low and slow over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes until the soffritto is just beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat. 

Begin layering lasagna in your 9x13 in baking dish:
1. Ladle a thin layer of sauce (on bottom of pan)
2. Layer noodles 
3. Spread out 1/3 of the soffritto mixture over noodles
4. Sprinkle 1/4 of the shredded gruyere cheese over soffritto
5. Ladle 1/4 sauce & repeat 2 more times (three layers in total with a layer of noodles to finish)
6. Top with the remaining sauce, cheese and grate as much parmesan as you'd like.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for another 10-15 or until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes.

Whenever I get together with Laura time passes by so quickly... Coffee, waffles, eggs, lunch, dinner... We always seem to be cooking, eating or crafting while the kids play all day.

Chris asked me if I wanted help in taking down some wooden artwork I had mentioned were too heavy for me to get down by myself and I had gotten tired of looking the various colors of boring brown. Alas, once down, I was not allowed to buy something new.

My chimmie's brain lit on fire and she quickly replied, "That's ok, we'll use some 'baby money'".

Baby money = six 99 cent bottles of chalkboard paint from Hobby Lobby.

So we got our crafty pants on and created something new out of something old.



I'm not getting on those damn ladders again for at least another 8 years.

I miss you Chimmie! Thanks for another epic Summer vacation of food and fresh design fun. BIG love to you, your kiddos + Winston and Lulu Design.

To the Mullies we go,

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cauliflower Macaroni + Cheese | #Meatfreeweek

My new family table tactic is to place a salad on everyone's plate prior to digging-in into whatever comfort food I have made. It's amazing how no one complains about eating the salad when it's the gateway to the main, mouthwatering event. 

I am inching my family towards filling our plates with more plants. It's so HARD. Really and truly. It's a simple, clear cut goal and one that I know is worth it. I will be chipping away at this mighty task, making baby steps every week at our family table. 

Terri and I brainstormed a list of comfort meals that I will be tweaking to add more prebiotic foods to improve our gut health and reduce the ones that destroy our gut health. I am doing my best to steer clear of foods/crops that are cultivated heavily with pesticides with patented antibiotics like this one.

I am not after as many "new" things in my meal plan this year, nor am I after perfection. Eating out and desserts will still be a lovely part of our lifestyle ratio of 80:20 | real:processed food.

I want to create a meal plan that is somewhat repetitive (Mac, Abbie Tommy, I hope you wax poetic about my home cooked meals someday!!!) and full of gut-healthy plants + comfort food to fuel the trillion + gut microbes that maintain my family's health. 

Cauliflower Macaroni + Cheese
Inspired by Terri Salminen

1 package gluten free elbow macaroni cooked and drained
1/2 block of gruyere shredded (almost 1.5 cups)
1 package of organic shredded mexican cheese (An Italian mix or plain ol cheddar is fine too!)
1 head cauliflower diced to size of macaroni (or smaller)
2 Tbsp organic butter
2 Tbsp gluten free flour
1/2 c organic half n half (or substitute in full fat coconut milk)
1 c organic rice milk (or organic or rBGH free milk)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper (start with a few pinches and adjust to taste)
a pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta to package directions (Don't forget to salt your water with a 2 T of sea salt). Rough chop up the cauliflower to the size of your macaroni or smaller. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the cauliflower over the sheet. Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Roast for 15 minutes and toss (no oil is needed!). Roast for another 5-8 minutes or until starting to slightly brown. There should not be anymore raw "crunch" to the vege. 

The pasta and the cauliflower hung out for a bit when I started my roux - Watch this "how to make a roux video" - It ROCKS). Melt the butter, add the flour and stir for 3-5 minutes until bubbly. Slowly pour in cream and whisk to incorporate. Lastly add in the rice milk (about 1/4 cup at a time). You should have a nice white sauce mixture at this point (add more liquid to thin out if necessary). Add in 1 cup of the gruyere and all of the Mexican cheese and mix until melted and smooth. 

Remove from heat and mix in the cauliflower and macaroni. Pour mixture into a 9x12 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining gruyere on top. (Parmesan would be awesome on top too... I just didn't haven't any on hand.) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. DIG IN.  

Have fun with some 1st course, "gateway" salads and happy weekend everyone!!

To the Mullies we go,


Ever since my family food change worked for Abbie, I have been a geek for anything that increases my understanding of the gut-brain connection. Today, 4.5 years into my journey, this is what I know for sure: There is still so much to learn about our gut microbiome (video link!) and I believe improving Abbie's changed the game for all of us

I am crazy about my new library book, Super Genes. It's one Good-Gut-Mind-DNA-Loving read. 

If you want to read some more about prebiotics, check out this great article!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Salads | Part 3 - Duck Egg Salad

Duck Egg Salad
Made with local Duck Tail Farm eggs! I pick up mine at the AREA General Store. They are more expensive than regular eggs but boy are they worth it!)

5 hard boiled duck eggs peeled and chopped
3 ribs celery
1/2 onion
2-3 T mayo (I used soy free vegenaise)
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp dill pickle relish (I am addicted to McClure's relish)
sea salt

Hard boil the duck eggs. I found this article to help me with the hard boiling, the process is slightly different than boiling chicken eggs. Once the duck eggs are cool, peel and dice. Next, finely dice the celery and onions and mix it all in a bowl with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I honestly do not measure any of the ingredients, just eyeball and taste test until I get it right. These are my best approximations! Get some gumption!

I think my favorite part of making multiple salads is combining them all for leftovers. Here is a bed of lettuce layered under my duck egg salad with my soffritto quinoa salad on top. I am crazy with the "sundae" food combinations I pile... Did you spy the little mound of FarmHouse Culture Kimchi in the corner peaking out on the right? GROW MORE GUTS - This plate was freaking fantastic!

Back to the ducks... I met Erin Cummingsford of DuckTail Farm a few years ago and began working closer to her last Summer as a fellow Chef in Residence alongside Terri Salminen. (ps Her kids had my Mom as their Kindergarten teacher at Fremont! Hurray!) Erin was instrumental at bringing us both out to the Prairie Crossing Farm and I consider her to be a dear friend and partner in the cultivation of "Lake County Local Food" crime!

Big love you and your beautiful ducks Erin!

To the Mullies,


Alas, my kids would only try one bite of my egg salad (However, this will not be the case forever ... he he he). We did started riding our bikes to the library! I am so proud of my kids and BIG thanks to my Mom for getting us to ride with you!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Soffritto Sisters | A Fremont Community Garden Tasting Event

These were the pictures I took last May as I shopped alongside my "Soffritto Sister," Terri Salminen at her favorite farmer's market in Amsterdam. I am so excited to pick her up at the airport TODAY.

And I'm thrilled to announce we have a super fun garden event planned this weekend

Terri and I will be visiting garden manager Alicia Dodd and friends at The Soffritto Sister's Garden Tasting Event (Facebook event page) on Sunday July 24th from 10:30am-12:30pm during normal volunteering hours to help inspire YOU to grow, prepare and eat your beautiful raw garden produce. 

We are keeping it SIMPLE:) Terri and I will prepare a few raw, simple and delicious recipes for you to enjoy samples, recipe ideas, cooking tips and more! What underutilized, beautiful produce and edible flowers can we inspire you to cook with? We'll be creating dishes straight out of the garden for everyone to taste - We can't wait to meet you! Our recipes will be posted on the Food Revolution Lake County Facebook Page (to save paper of course!) and also given to the community garden recipients. 

All are welcome to this FREE, kid friendly event. 

The Fremont Township Community Garden is a multi-functional garden space that provides produce to the township food pantry clients and low income seniors and provides opportunities for enjoyment and learning for the entire community. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to cook at the garden! For more information on volunteering opportunities with the garden manager Alicia Dodd (she is INCREDIBLE!) or anything else, visit and/or their Facebook page here.

I can't wait for our Summer 2016 adventure in Lake County to begin! Local farmer's markets WATCH OUT... Our plan is to shop for good local food and cook our little fannies off together! (Hmmmm I think I better delete some content off my phone to make room for all the pics and videos we're going to take!)

And Terri, I'm kinda sad you won't have to push me around everywhere this time:) But thanks to the inspiration you gave me in the Netherlands, we will have our own BIKES to get around on this Summer!!!!

Vroom vroom.

To the mullies we go...


Summer Salads | Part 2 - Warm Bacon, Fennel and Spinach Salad

This one is for YOU Stephanie Taylor Moss! You must let me know if you try something like it sister sledge!! I just know you'll add in a little gumption of your own...

A Warm Bacon & Fennel Spinach Salad

8 oz cremini mushrooms (Sandhill Family Farms)
1 onion
1 fennel bulb (SFF)
1 package locally raised (antibiotic and nitrate free) bacon (SFF)
fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves
3-4 healthy handfuls of spinach
sea salt

Cook the bacon. Meanwhile, slice the fennel bulb and dice stalks thinly. Reserve some fronds (fronds = the dill look-a-like parts of the fennel - It's true, I had no idea what fronds were a few years ago). Dice or slice the onion. Mince the garlic. Slice the mushrooms. Strain the bacon on paper towel and leave some of the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the fennel, onion, mushrooms and garlic to the skillet and cook low and slow (don't forget to season with salt and pepper!) until evenly cooked and just starting to caramelize (about 30 minutes). Chop up some fresh parsley and add in with about 5 minutes left to cook. Take off heat and sprinkle in some fennel fronds.

I tossed this warm mixture in with baby spinach and it was the first time I have gotten Abbie to give me a thumbs up on spinach salad (I guess it was all about the bacon baby). Mac was having a bad day with his retainer... And Chris, well, he does not eat mushrooms. Crazy charlie. I LOVE mushrooms!

To the mullies,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Salads | Part 1 - A Soffritto Quinoa Salad

Another 4th of July has come and gone. It's just so crazy how the time, the family, the friends and the food all merge together into one big crazy blob.

I cleaned out my pantry.

I did that a few weeks ago and it pretty much changes MY LIFE every time I do it. I am on a mission to control food costs and this is my ground zero. (I found four - FOUR -bottles of toasted sesame oil... I have no flipping idea how they all got in there...)

I'm on a mission to control my pocket book and begin again. I keep a little notebook in my purse with a clip on the side. It holds my ledger for the week (money I bring in and out) plus receipts. I'm making it a game (and you know how much I love to compete in a good ballgame) to control my dementia ridden pantry. No more overbuying Lindsey!

Here is the first installment of three delicious salad recipes I want to share with you. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I do! The kids are still at "bite size tries". I am hoping someday they go for a "nice size bowl." Pretty please!

This trifecta of flavor made a lovely addition to my neighbor's 3rd of July potluck celebration! Enjoy!

A Soffritto Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked organic quinoa
1 package organic feta cheese
1 bunch carrots (Sandhill Family Farms)
1 onion (red, yellow or white)
1 bunch rainbow chard (SFF)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Cook the quinoa to the package instructions with organic vegetable stock instead of water for extra flavor. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt to the stock. Dice up the carrots, onion and peppers. Separate the chard leaves from the ribs. Dice the ribs. Rough chop the chard leaves and set aside. Mince the garlic. In a separate skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over med low heat and add the diced carrots, onion, chard ribs and garlic. Add a healthy pinch of sea salt and pepper. Saute low and slow for about 30 minutes being careful to turn down heat if the vege begins to carmelize. Once the vege is evenly cooked and just beginning to carmelize, add the chard leaves and lid for 2-3 minutes to soften the leaves and retain the vivid green color. Don't forget to season to taste! Grab your serving bowl and add the quinoa and cooked vege together. Break up the feta block (if needed) into small pieces and add to the bowl. Serve room warm, room temperature or cold!

Falafel Cookies
(Inspired by this Food Revolution Ambassador Challenge World Food Programme Falafel recipe)

severely screwed this recipe up but it ended up all working out! I subbed in 1 bag chickpea & fava bean flour (Bob's Red Mill) + 2 cups of warm water. This was way.too.much.water. So, I let it sit overnight at Christina's suggestion. The next day, I scooped out the dough and rolled it in coarse cornmeal and baked them for 9 minutes at 350 degrees. It was just like making cookies.

Garden Cucumber Dipping Sauce

1 cucumber diced
1 cup organic whole fat plain yogurt
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp dried or fresh dill
1 T mayo (we used soy free vegenaise)
1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
pepper to taste

Mix it all up and serve on the side with the quinoa salad and falafel cookies. This would ROCK with gyros.

I am so happy our cucumbers are coming IN!

To my dear soffritto sister Terri, you KNOW I was thinking of you the entire time I cooked this salad! 

To the mullies...