Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Healthy Super Bowl Snack


You know you’re getting older when guys demand a healthy snack as entrance to Sunday football. Drew had to bring a Paleo friendly snack to a Playoff viewing two weeks ago and I helped him make this platter. Apple wedges, celery sticks, local honey and freshly ground hazelnut butter from Sqirl LA.

Apples Celery Nut Butter


He said it was the first snack to get eaten so I think even if you attend/host a non-Paleo viewing party this platter will be well received. Kids would like this right? You can find freshly ground peanut and almond butter in most health food stores (usually in the bulk bin section) or buy a good quality nut butter in a jar.

Paleo Platter

Are you trending healthy or unhealthy this year for Super Bowl snacks?



Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread


Happy New Year friends! If you follow me on Instagram (@lydiahowerton) you’re probably curious about the recipe for this bread. Developed from a Paleo Bread recipe that I adapted many times until this creation was born, this bread is Gluten free, low carb, has no refined sugar, no dairy and it’s Paleo and Yeast-free diet friendly (if you use only almond butter and no banana). This is the IDEAL breakfast bread, all the fat and protein from the nuts and eggs keeps you full and satisfied much longer than regular toast.

Peanut Butter Bread Batter with Fresh Berries

I stud the nut butter batter with jewels: ruby raspberries and sapphire blueberries. Be sure to gently press them into the batter until they’re covered, so they don’t get crushed or all float to the top.

PB&J bread

Who knew that eggs and nut butter can bake up into a fluffy, spongy bread?


Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread

Whole berries baked inside. This bread is really best toasted and if your diet/lifestyle choice allows you than spread some Sqirl Blackberry+Meyer Lemon Jam on top.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bread Recipe
makes one large loaf pan or 3 mini loafs

Grapeseed or Coconut Oil for greasing the pan
1/2 cup organic creamy almond butter
1 cup organic creamy peanut butter
1 ripe banana, well mashed (optional)
5 organic free range eggs
3 tablespoons agave syrup or honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup organic blueberries, washed
1/2 cup organic raspberries, washed

Lightly grease a loaf pan with oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except for berries until well combined and pour into baking pan or pans. Evenly distribute the berries over the top of the loaf and gently press them into the batter until covered. Bake at 350 for 30 mins and check it with a knife or toothpick to make sure the center is cooked (knife should come out pretty clean). Some ovens will require the bread to bake longer. Just don’t overcook or it will be dry. Allow to cool 10 mins in the pan and then run a knife around the loaf to release it from the pan. Allow to cool and then enjoy (best when toasted!) Wrap the loaf well in plastic  and it will keep for 5 days on the counter or in the fridge.



Holiday Treats for Gifting


Hi Friends! I apologize for the long winter’s nap I have (unintentionally) been taking from the blog. This time of year keeps us busy as elves in the kitchen at work so I have some fun recipes to share. Can I make it up to you with some SUPER SIMPLE holiday treats you can make in minutes and give as impressive gifts?

photo by La Femme Epicure

Peppermint Bark gets a whimsical update with a faux bois (wood grain pattern) silicone mat mold. Thanks to Martha for helping us hunt down the faux bois mold for the version we are making for our clients.


via Pinterest

Dip large salty pretzel rods in warmed chocolate the then coat with your favorite festive candies. Done.


Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix Jars

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mixes all ready for gifting, just add hot water! We used this Alton Brown recipe and added some cinnamon, crushed peppermint candies and mini marshmallows as the top layers of the jar.

Reindeer Snack Mix

And finally a family secret from our chef Sarah Simms of La Femme Epicure… Reindeer Snack Mix. This is a recipe for all the non cooks out there, no baking required. Just gently mix all the ingredients together and scoop into a cute jar for gifting. So darling and yummy (and very dangerous to keep around).

Simm’s Family Reindeer Snack Mix Recipe

  • bitter sweet chocolate chips
  • semi sweet mini chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • white chocolate chips
  • reg holiday m&ms
  • peanut holiday m&ms
  • small skinny pretzel sticks
  • whole roasted, salted peanuts (no skins)
  • Whole roasted, salted almonds (with skins, obvs)
  • regular raisins
  • golden raisins
  • craisins (dried cranberries)
  • Chex Cereal

Mix gently together in a large bowl. Divide into jars, clear bags or pails or tins, etc. Tie with pretty ribbon or twine. Attach tag with label “Reindeer Snack Mix”


Have you forgiven me yet?


Pumpkin Protein Smoothie


A few of you darling readers were excited about the mention of a Pumpkin Protein Smoothie on Monday so I thought I would share my version of the recipe. It’s SO delicious and rid me of any sugary pumpkin pie/latte/cookie cravings. Pro Tip: Make a “smoothie kit” the night before, for a grab and go breakfast.

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

 Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

adapted from a recipe by

Serves 1


1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I heart Sun Warrior Brand)

1 tbsp chia seeds (these blend better when soaked overnight, see tip below)

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

1 tbsp blackstrap molasses

1 small banana

1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice blend

A few cubes of ice


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!


Pumpkin Smoothie Kit

Make your smoothie kit the night before like we do for our private chef clients. Measure all the ingredients except the ice and banana into a container and keep covered in the fridge overnight. The chia seeds will soften and all you have to do in the morning is dump the kit into the blender, add a banana and ice and then press the button.




Pumpkin Punch List



Happy October Friends! This is my favorite month of the year because I LOVE pumpkins (nerd alert.) Since October is the MOST acceptable month to be a pumpkin fanatic I need to get started on my pumpkin related projects…

via Paula Deen

Mix up a jar of Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix with almonds, coconut and chocolate candies!


pumpkin chocolate cookies

via La Femme Epicure

Bake a batch of puffy, cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from La Femme Epicure.

Design a spooky-elegant pumpkin table and plan this year’s Pumpkin Carving Party menu (last year’s was pretty epic.)

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Starting my day right with healthy Pumpkin Protein Smoothie! Great recipe here though I swap the oats for Vanilla Protein Powder instead.

Also looking forward to pumpkin pie, pumpkin patches, pumpkin pancakes and toasted pumpkin seeds. What about you?







Classic Rice Pudding


Rice pudding haunts me. Not like the best ice cream you ever had haunts you, but like a wind in the door or a dark feeling on a sunny day.  When I think rice pudding, I remember smudged glasses of cold, wet rice glistening in the halogen glow of a diner in Montclair, NJ where friends and I stopped on our way back to school the night George W. was elected.  We were tired from a long day of job interviews and feeling defeated by the rain, the long drive ahead, and the radio coverage of the confusion down in Florida.  I don’t remember our dinner conversation, but I can’t forget that the rice pudding was gelatinous and faintly blue.

Time for an exorcism.

Special thanks to La Femme Epicure who added almond extract to the whipped cream and brought all the flavors together.  Did you know that almonds are actually stone fruit? Apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries taste so good with almond-flavored crusts and creams because the nut enhances what flavor the fruit already pulled from its pit.  That’s why the French leave pits in their cherry clafoutis. Personally, I prefer a little extract to a broken tooth.

The result is something to celebrate- cold, creamy and comforting with traditional pudding spices and a surprising freshness from summer fruit and almond cream. Poor rice pudding will never have the visual appeal of a chocolate chip cookie or a tall piece of cake, but that just means more for those of us who know to look past the lumps.

Ghost, be gone.

Classic Rice Pudding Topped with Nectarines and Almond Whipped Cream

Serves 4

Make 1 day ahead to chill


3/4 cups uncooked white rice (sushi, jasmine, plain old medium-grain)

1-1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 vanilla bean

3/4 cup golden raisins

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups heavy cream, divided

pinch confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp almond extract

2-3 pieces stone fruit, diced (we used nectarines)

cinnamon, for dusting


In a medium pot, cook rice in water according to the package directions.

In a separate pot, combine the milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon stick.  Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape all the “caviar” into your milk mixture.  (Save the bean for vanilla sugar).  Add the golden raisins and bring milk to a low simmer.  Remove from the heat, cover, and let the flavor steep for at least 15 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the steeped milk and return to the heat, stirring occasionally over medium heat, for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the egg and 1/2 cup cream.  Cook for 2 minutes more and remove from the heat.  Let cool and chill overnight, either in individual serving glasses or in one bowl.

To serve, whip the remaining cream into soft peaks, adding a pinch of confectioner’s sugar and one teaspoon of almond extract to as you go.  Dice your stonefruit.   Top the chilled rice pudding with a dollop of cream and a spoonful of fruit. Dust with cinnamon and serve.

xx Sarah

Evergreen Pesto


If you have basil planted in your garden I bet it is going O-F-F off right now.

Basil PotThis is what mine looked like until I gave it a hair cut to make my Evergreen Pesto.

Pesto IngredientsAll the traditional fixings- garlic, good parmesan, toasted pine nuts, good olive oil and lots of fresh basil leaves. Not pictured is my secret ingredient…. fresh SPINACH! I add tons of fresh spinach to my pesto and it keeps the basil from turning brown after it gets beat up in a food processor and exposed to earth, wind and fire. Yes even stays green when tossed with hot pasta.


Evergreen PestoEmerald green summer special sauce. I wish I had a blouse this color.


Pesto for the FreezerPS- it freezes beautifully


Evergreen Pesto

makes about 4 cups


½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 ½  cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, tightly packed
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup good quality Olive Oil (use a little more if you like a thinner consistency)
1 cup grated Parmesan
about 15 grinds of pepper
¾ tsp salt


Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan or in a toaster oven until golden brown. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the toasted pine nuts and garlic until coarsely ground. Add the basil leaves, spinach and lemon juice and zest. Pulse until the leaves are broken down. Turn the machine on and add the olive oil in a slow stream until well incorporated. Add the Parmesan and black pepper and taste for seasoning. Add the salt last in case the Parmesan is salty enough on it’s own.






How to Roast and Peel Peppers


Ready for broiling

Roasting peppers seems easy.  Until you have half the skin stuck to your fingers like wet paper and the other half still on the pepper, stubbornly refusing to separate.  If you’re dealing with that specific frustration, you may have forgotten one important step.

Broiled pasilla peppers

Let’s start at the beginning. To get a good char, you can do one of two things.  You can place your peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil, drizzle them with olive oil and place them under the broiler, turning once until brown on all sides. Takes about 15 minutes.  You can also drizzle with olive oil and turn directly over a gas flame until all sides are blackened and your peppers look like they do above. However you choose to roast, you’re now ready for the special step.

It comes down to foil.  Place your hot, charred peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with foil.  If you broiled your peppers, use the same foil that you used to line your baking sheet. Cover tightly and let steam until the peppers cool, at least 30 minutes.

Steaming creates little pockets of air between the burnt skin and pepper flesh.  No need to tug or tear to separate skin from sweet, soft pepper.

All you have to do is rip the skin and your peppers will peel easily.  I warn you- it’s as addictive as peeling easy-to-peel nail polish.

I’m stuffing these spicy pasilla peppers with grilled corn and pepper jack cheese and serving them with roasted salsa and sour cream.  I’ll slice any leftovers for spicing up avocado toast. How will you eat yours?

xx Sarah

Accidental plum compote



The plan was to make this roasted plum and vanilla mascarpone pie.  Stunning, right?

I had some near-death pistachios that I thought toasting and sprinkling over the top would make the presentation even more beautiful.

So I followed the directions for roasting the plums, tossing very firm black ones with vanilla bean and sugar and roasting them cut-side down in a 350 oven.

Firm as they were, those plums deflated fast.  After only 30 minutes in the oven, I had what looked like a natural disaster on my hands.   They emerged sad jellyfish caught in a sticky, red tide.

So I scooped them into compote glasses and chilled those sadsacks in the fridge until I could look at them again without shame.

I dolloped the vanilla mascarpone on top and sallied forth with my toasted pistachios.  Letting go of the image of that beautiful pie (it is so, so beautiful!), we had us some cold plum compote for dessert and then again for breakfast a few days later.  Hardly a failure.

Have you ever had a recipe mishap turn out ok?

xx sl

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