Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

A few years ago, I planted one lonely thornless blackberry twig in my backyard.  I nursed it and took care of it.  But then I ran over it with a lawnmower….then I nursed it again.  And now, I have 20 feet of blackberry bushes lining one full side of my backyard fence.   It is a race between me, the squirrels, and the birds to see who can nab the blackberries first.

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There may have been a time or two that I have stood in my backyard, gorging myself on these fresh thumb-sized blackberries. I’m too excited about the harvest and will eat so many that there isn’t any left to bring inside!  I stare at my purple soaked fingers and sort of feel bad that I haven’t shared any with my husband… so naturally I have to lie and tell him that the birds got them… ALL. yes.. All of them. right out of my hands. It was a tragedy. Crying, Thrashing. Feathers everywhere. I promise I tried. They were ferocious….. But my purple lips and seeded teeth tell the real truth.

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So needless to say I owed my husband some blackberry goodness. I gathered up a good bundle of blackberries and baked him this skillet gluten-free nectarine and blackberry crumble.  He was pretty excited… mainly because he could add ice cream to it. I swear, that man would be happy with a dirt cobbler as long as you could put ice cream on it. 🙂

This recipe is my standard crumble topping.  I use it on tons of different fruit crumbles. I added some lemon zest to the crumble to give it a light summery zip.  You could easily swap out the fruit in this filling with peaches, raspberries, blueberries, etc.  It is really easy to throw together for summer gatherings to use up all that fresh fruit produce that is flooding the markets. So give yourself and the ones you love a warm and awesome summer treat!

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Fruit Filling

  • 6 nectarines (Halved, pitted, and sliced with peel)
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • juice from 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Gluten Free Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  •  1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter (plus a little extra to grease the baking dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet or 8X8-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of the fruit filling ingredients. Spoon the fruit filling into the prepared skillet or baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Mix the ingredients until it is crumbly and moistened. Lightly sprinkle the oat crumble mixture over the fruit filling evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (or until the filling is bubbling and the crumble top is lightly golden brown). Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  This is delicious with vanilla ice cream for dessert or plain greek yogurt for breakfast!

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Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

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We all need a little treat now and then.  For me, my favorite treat is always peanut butter eggs or dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Swooooooon. I don’t have them often, but when I do, I prefer the mini ones because I can have more than one and not feel so bad. I also am like a squirrel and like to save them, placing them in weird places in our house (hiding them from my chocoholic husband).

We hosted a huge Easter gathering at our house this year and had 30 people in our tiny and cozy little abode.  It was a lot of fun because I had a game plan: only make stress free food! This would ensure that I could enjoy my family and not appear like a crazed woman. One of the stress free foods that I made were these amazing Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs.

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My sister and I whipped up these easy peasy peanut butter eggs a day in advance. They didn’t take much time and they were a great tiny sweet treat for people to pop one, two, or five eggs into their mouth.

Did I mention that these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs are made with only FOUR ingredients? FOUR.  They are very very very easy to make and very very very easy to eat. Too easy. But hey, on the bright side, they are made with all natural ingredients and are only 70 calories per egg. Boom!

Homemade Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

  • Servings: 60 eggs
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Using either an electric mixer or a food processor, thoroughly mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla on high-speed for several minutes until the mixture turns into a thick ball of peanut butter dough. Depending on the time of year and humidity in your kitchen, a tablespoon of water may need to be added to the mixture so that it will come together like dough. You can also pull it out of the mixing bowl and work it by hand for it to come together at the end after mixing it.
  2. Place parchment paper or waxed paper on a rimmed baking sheet or inside several glass pyrex baking dishes.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the peanut butter dough and use your hands to shape into a ball or egg shape, if you are feeling eggy. Place the balls (or eggs) onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Continue making the peanut butter eggs or balls until all of the dough is used. Depending on the size of your eggs, this recipe makes between 50 and 60 peanut butter eggs. Chill the peanut butter eggs in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. When you are ready to coat the peanut butter eggs in chocolate, place the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring between until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the peanut butter eggs from the freezer. Place one egg at a time into the chocolate and roll around until covered. Remove using a large fork placed under the egg and allow the excess chocolate to drip from the egg. Place the dipped egg on the parchment paper to harden. Store in the refrigerator until time to serve.

*Note – for a paleo-friendly version or for those that are allergic to peanuts, almond butter could be used instead.

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I recently brought this easy Black Bean Soup to a pot luck lunch party at my office.  It was a breeze. I actually threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning in my office and let it cook there until lunch time. The big problem was that I let it cook in my office next to my desk. I nearly ate my arm off trying to not dive head first into the slow cooker and devour the entire thing.

But thankfully I had enough self control to hold off until it was time to serve so that everyone could try it. You’re welcome people!

I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for something super easy and cheap during the weeknight, weekend, or even for entertaining. This is an all around great soup! If you are going on a ski vacation and want to come home to something hearty and wholesome… this is your soup.  If you are just coming home from a long work week, this is your soup.  If you are having some friends over for game night, this is your soup.

I promise it to be a winner. It will satisfy both meat eaters and veggie eaters! It also will be easy on your pocket book and be super stress free.

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Easy Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 4 cans of black beans (undrained)*
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup salsa of choice (I use Trader Joe’s salsa)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve half of cilantro for topping)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • Toppings: greek yogurt, chopped scallions, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Place two of the four cans of black beans (with liquid) in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree for about 15 seconds. Add pureed black beans and remaining ingredients through salsa into a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Just before serving, stir in half of cilantro and juice of 1 lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped scallions, lime wedges, and additional cilantro.

*Note – this recipe can definitely be made with dried black beans but will take about 2 hours longer to cook.   Rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them and then puree half of them (about 4 cups) with 2 cups of water. Add all ingredients to slow cooker as mentioned above.  Cooking time will increase by 2 hours, with it taking 8 hours on low and 5 hours on high.

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hello. My name is Alissa and I am an oatmeal-aholic. I am. *sigh*

My all time favorite oatmeal flavor is cinnamon apple. However, my recent new oatmeal passion is this Banana Nut Oatmeal.

I love oatmeal with all of my heart. I actually look forward to having oatmeal every morning. It’s my favorite breakfast and my favorite thing about chilly mornings. Nothing is more cozy to me than a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal. It’s like getting a hug from your favorite person while wearing wool socks in front of a cozy fire in a fabulous log cabin with Otis Redding on repeat on the record player.

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been making this delicous Banana Nut Oatmeal every morning lately which is the perfect marriage between banana nut bread and creamy oatmeal.  It is also a fabulously healthy way to start your morning during this crazy holiday winter season. The chia seeds and flax seeds help boost the nutrition, fiber content, and protein content which will help you stay full throughout the morning.

I typically work out in the mornings and have to hurry myself getting ready and end up eating breakfast at work while checking my emails. That is why I prep my breakfast the night before. I add all of my oatmeal ingredients to a microwave safe container and simply add liquid in the morning when I get to work and heat ‘er up! So whether you are rushed or have some spare time, this breakfast is perfect for you.  You can either throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate overnight before making it in the morning or you can cook it in a saucepan on an oven and fill your home with amazing aromas. This recipe also serves 4 hungry people. You can either make the whole batch and eat leftovers all week, or cut it down and make it for solo servings.

But trust me, this breakfast is so delicious that none of it will go to waste if you make extra! Invite me over and I will help you out! I’ll bring the coffee!

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or regular cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. Stovetop – Place water, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Dice up one banana and add to saucepan and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Remove from heat. Spoon into four bowls, topping each with remaining sliced banana, chopped pecans, and coconut palm sugar.
  2. Make Ahead – Place all water, almond milk, salt, chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon a large bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and spoon out into four separate bowls. Dice a banana on top of each bowl and add water to desired consistency. Microwave each bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir oatmeal and top each bowl with remaining sliced banana, chopped nuts, and coconut palm sugar.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My husband and I ran the KC half marathon this past Saturday. One of the best things about running in the early morning is getting to see the city wake up as the sun rises. You see a view that is typically missed while enjoying the coziness of bed. Chilly morning runs sound so much better, right? I’ll tell ya, that the early morning air was perfectly crisp for me. Plus the trees were all in full amazing bloom of color like they saved all their peak beauty just for us!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s crazy to realize that five years ago I completed the full marathon. *shudder* I will say that I definitely enjoy running half marathons MUCH better than full marathons….obvi. The full marathon is a torturous journey that I’m glad I did once…and will likely never repeat.  (Similar to trying to drink a pint of vinegar on a dare….great to do once, but never again.  Am I right?)

For some reason, I really like running half marathons. It’s a decent length of race to push my training and fitness level a little higher, while not ruining my life or body. Usually. This past training season I pulled a calf muscle three weeks ago but since I gave myself three weeks off from running, I was able to bust out the race. Needless to say, after running 13.1 miles this weekend, I’m in super recovery mode. Give me carbs, give me nutrients….more importantly, give me ice cream!

On Sunday, I did a lot of stretching, drank plenty of water, and worked in my yard enjoying the fall day. I also harvested the end of season crops and late bloomer tomatoes and peppers. I wasn’t sure what to do with my bounty until I remembered this delicious Smoky Red Pepper Soup in one of my favorite new cookbooks, Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasselbrink. I decided to adapt the soup a bit and roast the peppers and tomatoes in the oven together and whip up this nutrient-dense soup to aide my recovery. Winner winner.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This soup is the easiest thing I’ve done all weekend.  It is so easy since all of the vegetables are roasted together on a single baking sheet under a broiler.  Then all of the roasted vegetables are then pureed with spices in either a high speed blender or in a stockpot using an immersion blender. So easy I could sleep and do this. Maybe I am.

The broiler gives a great smoky flavor to the tomatoes and peppers. It is also spiced with both smoked paprika and chipotle powder which add extra smoky punch of flavor.  If you are sensitive to spice or serving this to lil tikes, then I would recommend skipping the chipotle powder since it is a bit spicy.  This is perfect as a main meal with a dollop of greek yogurt or served as a first course with this kale salad with garlic tahini dressing or this Peruvian Roasted Chicken.

Oooh….or grilled cheeeeeeese pleeeeeease.  Sorry folks. As you can tell I’m in carbo load mode.  I’ll get back to being a green machine tomorrow.

You don’t have to run a half or full marathon to deserve this soup. It’s easy, light, and provides your body the nutrients it needs to get through these fall days. Get on it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: about 10 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), quartered with seeds/membranes removed
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic (skins on)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 pounds of whole tomatoes (about 8 Roma tomatoes or 4 larger tomatoes)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional if you don’t like spicy dishes)
  • Optional toppings: plain greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, roasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Place oven rack in the upper portion of the oven about 6 to 8 inches from broiler.
  2. Place cut peppers skin side up, whole roma tomatoes, whole garlic, and quartered onions in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the top rack. Broil the veggies, watching carefully, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the pepper and tomato skins are mostly blackened on top.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the pepper skins by running them under running water. Peel and remove the skin from the garlic as well.
  4. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, heat the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, salt, and spices.  Puree the soup smooth using an immersion blender. This step also can be performed using a high speed blender or food processor.
  5. Serve soup topped with greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Note – Recipe adapted from Kimberley Hasselbrink’s Vibrant Food.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Granola is where it’s at people! I’m in deep smit with this stuff…. but first let me tell you about my week!

My life was relaxing and simple this past week. I spent four gloriously relaxing days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine with friends in a seaside house that my amazing friend Lisa rented. It’s her favorite happy place and I’m eternally grateful that she shared the experience.

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I would wake up to a crisp breeze and the smell of the ocean. I would meander downstairs to the side room where light poured in through the million windows that faced the ocean and side yard.  I relaxed with fresh coffee, cool air, and great company. Breakfast consisted of greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and a friend’s homemade granola. This was perfectly light and fresh and served as the perfect fuel for each day. Then we would begin our days with long and beautiful walks along the seaside, over the ocean-worn rocks, and through forested trails. We would end the days sitting on a seaside dock with cool breeze, fresh lobstahs, wine, and plenty of laughter. It was perfect.

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It’s ok to be jealous… I’m jealous of my memories. I want more of it. Four days wasn’t enough!

I was so thankful that my friend Susan brought her granola along to share! Everyone needs a great granola recipe in their pocket. It’s the perfect topping for yogurt and also a great portable snack to bring along hikes or…. to Maine! Never leave home without it. It should on the top of a list of the 10 essentials to bring on a trip….right up there with your compass. Am I right?

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I decided to share my person granola recipe that I have tweaked and twisted around through the years. I really like adding as many goodies in my granola as possible.  From batch to batch, they taste different depending on what I have on hand in my cupboards.  This recipe is an adaptation of many many many recipes that I have used over the years. The main twist is that I use a trick from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, where an egg white is used to retain large clusters in the granola. The protein in the egg white are a great binding agent and cut down on the amount of oil needed.

Also, I like to kick up the nuts and seeds ratio and lower the amount of sweetener. Nuts and seeds increase the protein content of the granola which helps keep you satiated and controls blood sugar spikes. This recipe also only has 1/2 cup of sweetener.  I prefer to use maple syrup as the sweetener because it adds a great warming aroma and flavor to the granola, while being a 100%-natural sweetener.  You could also use honey or coconut palm sugar.

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And let’s NOT forget about the spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and crystallized ginger are great additions, providing a warm punch of autumnal love to this healthy granola.  I added a handful of dried cranberries to the end mixture for great tart/sweet combo.  Dried cherries and/or dried apple chunks would also be great additions.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I love this granola in fist fulls or sprinkled on top of greek yogurt with fresh fruit or applesauce. I have also eaten it as homemade cereal.  It’s also an easy and quick dessert option sprinkled on baked fruit.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 cups assorted nuts and seeds (I like a variation/mixture of different nuts and seeds such as pistachios, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup diced candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients except egg white, cranberries, and candied ginger in a large bowl and mix well. Whisk the egg white in a separate small bowl until lightly frothy. Pour over granola and mix well.
  3. Spread out the granola mixture evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, lightly mix and try to not break up too many of the yummy granola clusters. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Mix in cranberries and candied ginger. Place in an airtight container and keep tasty for up to 3 weeks!

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Honey No Bake Cookies (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen with Honey  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

These cookies are filled with my favorite flavors…Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I’m in absolute heaven.

When I was in college and times became super stressful, I would always turn to my grandma’s No-Bake Cookie recipe. It took less than 10 minutes to have a handful of devilishly delicious, misshapen, peanut butter-chocolatey goodness. And hey, it had oats in it…soooo it has to be good for me, right?

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen with Honey  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)I recently had another hankering for these little oaty smorsels. But when I read her original recipe, I was shocked at the quantity of sugar! I decided to reevaluate and reinvent my grandmother’s (and so many other’s grandmothers) recipe. The original recipe contains:

  • 2 CUPS of sugar (yes…cups)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (ooooh yaaaaa)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (likely Jiff)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups of quick-cooking oats

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen with Honey  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Soooooo… whaaaa? Instead of the empty calories seen in the original cookie recipe, my reinvented cookies are full of nutritious and healthy ingredients. Honey. Coconut Oil. Cocoa Powder. Natural Peanut Butter.  Rolled Oats. Unsweetened Coconut. And my new No Bake Cookies are SO delicious. You don’t have to feel an ounce of guilt when eating one…or two…or three. Eat your feelings…and feel good about it.

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen with Honey  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Note – These cookies are made with coconut oil. Since coconut oil melts at room temperature, it is best to keep your leftover cookies in the fridge so that they are a set and solid…that is, if you have leftovers.

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Honey No-Bake Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 30
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 Cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Heat honey, coconut oil, and cocoa powder in a large pot over medium-high heat stirring constantly until boiling. Stop stirring and allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add oats, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract to chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Stir well until  everything is thoroughly mixed together.
  3. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or plate. Plop spoonfuls of the no-bake cookie mixture onto prepared pan/plate. If it is too warm in your kitchen, place the cookies in the fridge to set.  Because there is coconut oil in this recipe, the oil will tend to melt a bit at room temperature. Keeping the cookies in the fridge will ensure that they are firmer.

No Bake Cookies // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen with Honey  (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Homemade Bloody Mary Recipe

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Last weekend, over the labor day holiday weekend, my husband and I escaped the hot KC summer and traveled to the amazing scenery of New Mexico. We were celebrating our NINTH wedding anniversary. It was magical. We spent several days in Taos and then ended our vacation in Santa Fe. I’m absolutely in love with the area. How could you not be???

The mountains.

The locals.

The adobes.

The FOOOOD!

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It was prime time for roasting fresh hatch chiles!  Everywhere we went, I had green chile and red chile sauce (christmas style…which means both) slathered on everything.  I couldn’t get enough, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, chile on chile on chile. I luckily brought back some fresh hatch chiles that I was able to snag at the Taos Farmers Market.

We came home to a plethora of tomatoes in our garden. The end of August and September typically leave most gardeners with so many tomatoes that you are looking for new and different ways to use them.  So I have a handy dandy new recipe idea for you and all your ton o’ tomatoes…Bloody Mary Mix. Ya..you heard me. I will be showing you how to use all of those tomatoes to make fresh tomato juice for your own homemade Bloody Mary Mix.

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One really easy way to make tomato juice is using a juicer. Williams-Sonoma has a plethora of great juicer options (droooool). Unfortunately, I do not have a juicer. So I decided to puree my tomatoes (along with some onion, green chiles, and celery) and pass the puree through a sieve or fine mesh to separate the juice from the solids.  I was able to get 8 cups of juice from 12 cups of diced tomatoes.

And DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE SOLIDS…seriously.  Make fresh and easy salsa with the tomato solids! Two recipe dishes for one effort!  I added a handful of cilantro, a diced onion, diced jalapeños, lime juice, and salt to taste. Bam…salsa. A snack to go with your brunch drink. Amazing.

Additionally, I have included canning instructions below so that you can preserve your awesome homemade Bloody Mary Mix and drink it forever give it as gifts (if you can dare part with this amazing elixir). If you don’t have much canning equipment, check out this awesome selection of canning and preserving equipment from Williams-Sonoma too (double drool).

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My homemade Bloody Mary Mix recipe has a New Mexican spin since I added roasted hatch green chiles. I roasted my own chiles by placing them over an open gas flame. The smokey hatch chiles provide a nice smokey addition of flavor! Warning – be careful when adding additional hot sauce to your Bloody Mary Mix because some hatch chiles can be HOT HOT HOT.

If you want to put up several jars of this Bloody Mary Mix, pint-sized jars of homemade Bloody Mary Mix make a great gift.  I know I would LOVE to get this mix as a gift. Oh ya. To make a great gift set, include the following:

  • Pint sized jar of Homemade Bloody Mary Mix (sealed and processed through hot batch canning)
  • Jelly jar of pickled green tomatoes (sealed and processed through hot bath canning) or a jar of jalapeño stuffed olives
  • Tiny baggy of kosher salt, ground pepper, and smoked paprika for the rim
  • Mini bottle of vodka

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Voila! Best brunch gift ever.  Be sure to include directions for mixing up the homemade drink. One pint jar will make at least TWO Bloody Marys.

Note – the Homemade Bloody Mary Mix may start to separate (solids and liquid). This is ok…no big deal. Just swirl the mix prior to preparing your drinks. This may not be an issue if you use a juicer.

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Homemade Bloody Mary Recipe

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 12 cups of diced ripe tomatoes and juice
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery plus leaves, chopped
  • 2 fresh roasted hatch green chiles (or 4 oz canned green chiles) (optional)
  • juice of 2 limes and 2 lemons
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated fresh horseradish or prepared bottled horseradish
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Hot sauce (such as Sriracha), to taste
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice (spicy pickle juice is super good)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups of vodka
  • Rim Seasoning: kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, smoked paprika
  • Optional Garnish: olives, jalapeño stuffed olives, pickled green tomatoes, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Make Fresh Tomato Juice – Place chopped tomatoes, onion, celery, and roasted hatch chiles in a blender or food processor and puree.  This will likely need to occur in batches. Pass the pureed mixture in batches through a food mill or through a fine mesh sieve, capturing the juice in a large container. You should have about 8 cups of tomato juice.  Set solids aside to make this salsa. (Alternately to using a blender, you can use a juicer and juice the tomatoes, celery, shallot, and chiles).
  2. Make Mix – Add lemon juice, lime juice, grated horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and celery salt to the fresh tomato juice. Add hot sauce, salt, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. (To can and preserve the Bloody Mary Mix, see canning instructions below).
  3. Assemble Drinks – Mix 1 tablespoon each of salt, ground black pepper, and smoked paprika on a small flat plate. Dip the rim of each glass in water or lemon juice and then dip the rim of each glass in the paprika-salt mixture and twist the glass.   Fill each 8 ounce glass with ice to the rim. Pour 1 ounce of vodka and top off with bloody mary mix in each glass. An extra splash of hot sauce and pickle juice tastes grand.  Be sure to swirl around all the ingredients using a spoon or chopsticks.
  4. Garnish – Top and garnish the drinks as you wish…with limes, lemons, jalapeño stuffed olives, hot sauce, pickled green tomatoes, pickled green beans, bacon… ya bacon. It’s endless possibilities.

Canning Instructions: (See this tutorial on canning instructions for great details)

  1. Clean and heat canning jars.  Simmer lids for 10 minutes at around 180 F water. Preheat the water bath to a rolling boil.
  2. Fill pint-sized jars with Bloody Mary Mix, leaving 1/4-inch head space at the top of the jar. Wipe rim of jars.
  3. Apply the lids and screw on the canning rings.
  4. Lower the pint jars into the boiling water canning bath using a jar rack. Allow the water to come back to a gentle boil.  Place lid on canning bath and process pint jars for at least 45 minutes. (Note – If you’re canning a small batch of jars, it is best to use a smaller pot to process your jars to reduce breakage.)
  5. Remove from canning water bath using tongs. Allow to cool to room temperature. After your jars have cooled, check the seal by pressing down on the center of the lid. If the lid does not move and is concave, then you have a good seal. However, if the lid moves when pushed, then there is a bad seal and the jar needs to be processed again.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

I want to begin with an apology to my 8 year old self for this post because I’m breaking a BIG commandment with myself.

Thou shall NOT cut corn OFF the cob…ever.

My kid self would be appalled. I mean…WHY would anyone ever cut corn OFF of the cob. They are taking ALL of the fun out of eating corn.

When I was little and we had corn on the cob for dinner, it felt like a holiday. I would ask for more corn over a slice of pie any day. Weird child, I know. There was also a period in my young life when I think I didn’t have front teeth for over a year, but continued to gnaw down ear after ear of corn, while projecting kernel after kernel into the air in front of me like a machine gun.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Plus, when I was a kid and corn wasn’t on a cob, that it meant it came in a can…*shudder*. I haaaate canned corn. Sorry to all you canned corn eaters. But if you have ever had FRESH FRESH FRESH corn straight from the cob, it will change your life. So I feel like my childhood self might forgive me if she had ever had fresh corn directly from the farm.  To satisfy my inner child, I bought 12 ears so that most of them could be eaten directly from the cob.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

A lesson in cutting corn from the cob. Place the cob slightly angled up and down OVER a bowl. Cut the kernels off with the blade of the knife pointed awaaaay from you, allowing the kernels to fall lovingly into the bowl. Otherwise, your kernels will catapult off of a plate onto the ground. We can’t let those kernels go to waste! All kernels need a home…a.k.a my belly!

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Next thing about this salad is that it is a substantial and gluten free feast. It has quinoa which is a super food, or so I’ve been told. I love that bit of crunch that the cooled quinoa and fresh corn provide to this lush herby and fresh salad. It’s perfect for a gluten free and vegetarian option at a picnic lunch or a cool weeknight meal. You can make the quinoa ahead of time and just throw everything together prior to serving. Easy peasy. It also would be good with some grilled chicken on top, for those meat lovers like my dear hubby.

P.S. One or two or three things about the dressing! It is VERY good….like hide in a closet and drink it good. I was going for a type of green goddess style of herbaciousness. Feel free to mix up the herbs…cilantro, mint, tarragon, basil..whatevs. If you don’t have yogurt on hand, I think half an avocado would do well in this dressing. Aaaaand if you don’t have yogurt OR an avocado, throw in some soaked and drained nuts or sunflower seeds instead and give them a whirl in the food processor. You will just need to add water to make it the desired consistency.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free)

  • Servings: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used mixed quinoa, but any color would work here)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from cob (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I also added a big heirloom tomato because I loooove tomatoes)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, thinly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of assorted greens (spinach, baby kale)
  • feta crumbles
  • Fresh basil and cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 fresh basil and cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat. Place cooked quinoa in a covered dish and refrigerate until cooled. Can be made several days ahead of time.
  2. In a medium bowl combine corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes, carrot, sweet bell pepper, and greens.
  3. In a small food processor, add all dressing ingredients and process until desired consistency is achieved. Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. After the quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa and the dressing to the corn and tomato salad. Toss well. Sprinkle with feta, additional basil and cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.