Fantastic Friday Five: Perfect popcorn, Vegan Alfredo sauce, and a New kitchen toy!

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

CL:  A new post from Harvest Moon Kitchen??!?!  THE SKY IS FALLING.

JG:  No, Chicken Little.  It’s only me, and stop that before you make me feel bad about the fact that I’ve been absent… because guilt is the last reason I want to feel compelled to write on here.  Sheesh.

… I’m back!  Since you’ve seen me last I’ve finished up another successful teaching year, completed my Master’s in Education (woo!!) with an intensive last course, coaxed my garden into growing almost out of control, and nearly clean chopped off the tip of my thumb – (almost) all fun little distractions that shifted my priorities for a while there.  We’ll see what happens now that life has settled down at least a little bit!  And let’s get on to some fantasticness I’ve been enjoying lately…

#1:  Perfect stovetop popcorn

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I am a popcorn fiend.  Well, I’ve got Step 1 down…  :)  I used to make microwave popcorn, back in my pre-enlightened days (ha), and for a while since giving it up I was mostly just buying the AMAZING Little Lad’s brand of pre-popped popcorn from right here in Maine (check out their website here).  Well we have a lovely friend who is always ready with freshly popped stovetop popcorn when she entertains guests, and I naturally wanted to give it a try.  So I tried a few times on my own from her directions, but I seemed to always either burn the popcorn at the bottom of the pot or leave so many unpopped kernels that I nearly cried in mourning.   Continue reading

Fantastic “Friday” Five: Citrusy black beans, Cookies 2-ways and Garden planning

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

Happy Sunday everyone!  Yeah, that’s right – I’m still doing a “Fantastic” post even though it’s not Friday.  It’s my blog and I can cheat if I want to.  :)  Here’s what I’ve especially enjoyed this week:

#1: Black beans and salad with balsamic vinaigrette

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I love love LOVE making black beans from “scratch”, and Elise’s recipe from Simply Recipes is my absolute favorite way to prepare them.  I served them with warmed corn tortillas, corn bread, and a fresh salad made with local lettuce and tomatoes.  We’ve been using a fabulous balsamic vinaigrette from Chinese Grandma.  Make this dressing.  And make those beans.  Uh oh, now I’m getting bossy… Continue reading

Lentil vegetable bowl (vegan/gf)

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I’ll admit it.  I used to think lentils were just boring brown mushiness.  But I had heard good things (especially about their impressive nutrition resume), so I tried them out.  That was a couple of years ago at this point and now they’re one of my go-to legumes!  They require no pre-soaking, as opposed to dried beans, so you can have them for dinner without planning ahead – yeah, it happens.  They’re also cheap, like other legumes, so you get quite the nutrition bang for your buck.  They’re pretty fuss-free, so I often just throw in some vegetables and spices with them and let them go at it.  For the version in the photos I used carrots, parsnips, broccoli, and kale, but add what every floats your vegetable boat!  :)  Also, I love using warm curry spices (turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne - also all very good for you!), but you can go more savory (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.) if you prefer. Continue reading

Fantastic Friday Five: Fiddleheads, Chocolate treats, and Running with kids

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

Life has intervened lately, so the FFF has taken a little break… But it’s baaa-aaaack!  And chock-full of a couple weeks worth of fantasticness.  Enjoy.  :)

#1:  Fiddleheads!

This comes a little late as fiddlehead season is pretty much done here in Maine, but I didn’t want to leave them out of a well-deserved spot on the FFF!

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Sweet potato and black bean nachos (vegan/gf)

First of all, I am aware I’ve been kind of absent in the blogosphere lately… life happens.  I hope you welcome me back with open arms.  :)  Now let’s get to some good eats!

Sometimes I just need (well, I guess it’s a very strong want…) some nachos.  And is there any more perfect south-of-the-border flavor combination than black beans and sweet potatoes?  Didn’t think so.  (The sound of peepers – my neck of the woods’ version of crickets – was the only response I got, so I I’ll take that as a no.)  These cravings came together with the bag of delicious quinoa and black bean tortilla chips in my cupboard tonight for a fabulous meal.  Dig in!

IMG_3691Don’t worry, this fed both me AND Travis…  :) Continue reading

The Fantastic Friday Five: Tofu scramble, Confident kitchen spontaneity, and Gifts

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

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#1:  Spring rolls… handheld, dip-loving salads!

I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but I’ve been loving making spring rolls lately!  I’m getting ahead of myself because these fresh, tasty, bundles of happy will have the opportunity to star in their very own post soon (keep your eyes peeled!), but I just couldn’t keep the spring roll love to myself.  They really are easy, and they provide a handheld alternative to salads when you really want the taste and crunch and overall goodness of fresh veggies.  And you are almost required to dip them in sauce.  WIN!  Consider this a sneak preview…  :) Continue reading

The Fantastic Friday Five: Curried quinoa, Kale salad and SPRING!

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, home-ownership and more!

The good and the bad.  It’s been a good week around here for lazing and catching up on life planning… school vacation week for me!  (I’m a teacher, not a student, but vacation is even more welcome when you’re an adult!)  And the bad.  If you are not living in a hole (or the Central Maine woods?), which I assume you’re not if you’re reading this, you know that the bombings at the Boston Marathon have been very unsettling and heartbreaking to us all.  I live only an hour and a half north of Boston, and I know many people in the area.  I’m also a runner.  But no matter what bad there is in the world, the good is better, and I felt especially proud to be out running this week and seeing others do the same.  There’s a race I’ve been not wanting to do (I’m an infamous cold-feeter when it comes to races), but I’m going to run it tomorrow.  Because I can, and n0body can stop me.  Now allow me to share some of the fantasticness of the week with you… Thank you, as always, for joining in!  :)

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Basil-avocado sauce with lemon (vegan/gf/nut-free)

So I know I’ve been posting a lot of basil-y and lemon-y things lately, but I just love buying mounds of fresh basil from my local farmers’ market… you’ll just have to deal.  :)  The more specific reason for today’s recipe is for my cousin, Susanna, whose youngest son has many complicated allergies, including dairy and nuts.  After my parsnip pesto post, she asked about nut-free pesto.  Well, this is my first stab at it, and it definitely has that delightful basil flavor of pesto, without dairy or nuts!

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The Fantastic Friday Five: Smoothies, Surprise flowers and Dreams

The Fantastic Friday Five is a weekly series featuring odds and ends from my everyday life – food, running, gardening, and more!

Wow, it was a busy week at work!  Lots of projects to finish and work to send home and post, along with the usual planning and prep (I’m a teacher).  But I still managed to experience some fantastic-ness… duh.

#1:  GREEN. SMOOTHIES.

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Pasta with lemony parsnip pesto (vegan/gf)

This post is brought to you by the letter P…

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Do you ever have a vision, but it’s teetering between genius and disaster in your head, so you’re wary of trying it?  Who am I kidding, we all have.  Well this dish is one of those visions, and I’m going to come right out and say that the scale tipped heavily towards genius.  The sweetness of the parsnips married with the sharpness of the lemon and garlic, tempered by buttery walnuts and fragrant basil, all tossed with pasta, olive oil, spinach, and onions…  YESSSSS! Continue reading