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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thai Peanut Green Bean Salad with Walla Walla Sweets

This is what you get when there is a sale on green beans.


Lots of green beans. Full disclosure, there was also a sale on this:


And this:


But unfortunately not this:


But I needed it, so I bought it anyway. My name is Holley and I’m addicted to grocery shopping.

This is what you get when you live with grandpa, lover of Walla Walla sweet onions:


The man wants onions on everything. And I made him a potato salad with tons of onions and Matty B told me that when he was dishing up leftovers for grandpa, he was instructed to chop up more onion, but not to tell me because it might hurt my feelings. P.S. Mom, grandpa doesn’t like soft tacos, but he told me not to tell you cause it might hurt your feelings. FYI.

This is what you get when you ask Miss Rae to smile for a picture:




Interestingly enough, this is the same face grandpa gets when he doesn’t get enough onion in his potato salad.

This is what happens when you ask me to bring a salad to a picnic:


It’s a cheating recipe, really, because I’ve already posted the thai peanut dressing recipe and now I’m just telling you to put this same vegan dressing on different ingredients. My only excuse is that my wrist is so tired from chopping onions that I don’t have the energy to give you a new recipe.


But this is just another example of exactly what I want my recipes to be about: versatility. Don’t have lettuce? Use green beans? None of this? What about roasted cauliflower? Maybe some julienned zucchini “noodles”?


Because certainly your life is similar to mine: bedtime stories and dishes and meetings and juice boxes and maybe, if you’re lucky, a hot shower. You don’t need to run out to the store for special ingredients. And if it’s on sale, you’re gonna buy it and make it work.


This is what you get when you make a quick vegan salad and then take the time to wait long enough:


A sweet little smile:)


Growing up

Miss Rae got her first real haircut.


Before: a look very similar to the Geico caveman.


After: a sweet baby girl who turned into a big girl in a matter of minutes.



Seriously, can’t believe how fast she’s growing up.

And don’t even get me started on this guy:


He’s a hiking, biking, reading, dancing machine. And he starts preschool next week…


We went to preschool open house tonight. It was very strange for me to attend a school event that I wasn’t in charge of.

As I was browsing the calendar, I noticed that January 6 noted “Preschool Resumes”.

Resumé? They need to write a résumé in preschool? For what? They’re expected to get a job?

I shared my concerns with Matty B.

“Resumes! Like, preschool starts again! Not a résumé for a job!”

Don’t scoff. J Man could probably write his own résumé.

Stop. Growing. Up.

That’s an order.

Old Lady Holley and Marinated Peppers

I hold out hope for my children’s vegetable consumption because of personal experience.

Growing up, I didn’t like green salad, cauliflower, watermelon, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, or brussels sprouts. These are all things that “old lady Holley” loves now.

Of the list above, my kids eat green salad (slathered in ranch) and asparagus on random, unexpected occasions. Miss Rae will eat watermelon. That’s it. No mushrooms, cauliflower or brussels sprouts.


But, praise Mother Earth, something crazy happens to taste buds as you get older and unless your name is Matty B, you start liking more things. Am I wrong?


I like dill pickles (always have), but NOT sweet pickles.

Until today. I found a recipe for marinated peppers and the process was too easy to ignore. Basically, you throw whatever raw veg you have on hand (think asparagus, green beans, onions, etc) in a marinade of apple cider vinegar, sugar and garlic. I used bell peppers. Let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge.


And I tasted my peppers. And they were so yummy! And they tasted how I thought sweet pickles might taste. And I wondered, could it be that “old lady Holley taste buds” have kicked in? Do I like sweet pickles?


It turns out that I do! Now, I just need to get used to “old lady Holley gray hairs”…

Marinated Peppers


1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 TBS sugar
1 minced garlic clove

1 1/2 bell peppers, varying colors if desired.


Whisk first three ingredients together in a small bowl. Chop peppers to desired size and mix into vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Eat Them Whenever You Want Cookies

My people expect dessert after every meal.

And if you think breakfast is immune, you’re mistaken.

And if you think that I can fool them with grapes or strawberries, you’re mistaken.

And if you think the kids don’t notice when you get an ice cream sandwich and hide it behind your back and sneak bites, Matty B, you’re mistaken.


The mission: create a cookie that could be consumed, without guilt, anytime of the day or night.



Must be low in sugar.


Must be fast and easy.


Must have some sort of nutritional value.


Must actually taste good. I’m competing with ice cream sandwiches here, people. It’s gotta be competitive!

And if there were a showdown, maybe a boxing match, between these “eat them whenever you want cookies” and an ice cream sandwich, my powerhouse cookies would have a great big KO! They’re vegan. They’re gluten free. They’re raw. They’re amazing!

And as a bonus, you don’t have to eat these cookies in hiding, listening to your children say, “What are you eating, Daddy?”

Eat Them Whenever You Want Cookies

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans
12 deglet noor dates (pitted)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup almond milk
Sprinkle of salt


Pulse oats, pecans and salt in food processor until combined. Add dates and mix until blended. Add almond butter, almond milk and salt.

Roll into balls and push down with a fork. Chill. Eat. Feel good.

PB&J Scones

Better With Veggies

2nd breakfast is a real thing. If you don’t believe that there should be more than 3 square meals per day, talk to Taco Bell. Their 4th meal concept, while flawed if you’re actually eating Taco Ball, is pretty smart. P.S. Really, don’t eat Taco Bell. There are 50 bathousand ingredients in their bean burritos and I’m pretty sure they gave my dad food poisoning. And isn’t Taco Bell the place that got in trouble for selling beef that wasn’t beef? It was full of maltodextrin, or something?


But back to 2nd breakfast. It takes place in our house on Saturday morning because

a) Saturday morning is yummy breakfast day. Monday-Friday is healthy breakfast. Sunday is pancakes for the kids (and recently, grandpa:), but Saturday morning is for me and Matty B. Think almond poppyseed scones or blueberry crumble muffins.

b) Saturday morning is my “morning to sleep in” and I’m not getting up in time to feed the kids scones or muffins at 7:00 am.

c) Enter: 2nd breakfast


Side tangent: I’m currently experiencing a renewed love of PB&J. It might be because I never had it much as a child (Did you not like PB&J, Mom?) so I never got burnt out like many of my friends. It might be because I don’t eat your typical Skippy/Smuckers/Wonderbread edition of PB&J. Oh no. It’s Dave’s Killer Bread, almond butter and homemade jam all the way.


Therefore, my love for PB&J was married with 2nd breakfast and presto-chango, PB&J Scones, courtesy of

It’s possible I put in a little extra peanut butter. It’s possible I put in a little extra jam.


For 2nd breakfast, “extra” is always a good call. (Unless we’re talking about Taco Bell and maltodextrin. No extra of that, please…)

Fresh Peach Tart

I was cleaning out grandpa’s freezer the other day. That was a scary time. In addition to half eaten lasagnas and bags of dried up cranberries, I found no less than 7 Tupperware containers of cooked spaghetti. And I think it was intentional because each container was painstakingly labeled in grandma’s beautiful script, “Cooked Spaghetti”. Most said 2004. Yikes.

Probably the most edible thing in the freezer was a Marie Callender’s frozen peach pie. It actually looked kinda good. I contemplated baking it up.

And then I stopped myself because a) Most likely this pie was significantly older than J Man, b) There are better ways than food borne illness to get a day off, c) Um, hello? It’s August. Fresh peaches are soooo good right now! d) Marie Callender? Yeah, she’s a big disappointment. Promises made, promises broken.


So we made little peach tarts and I wasn’t even going to blog about them because, well, they’re pretty simple.


But then we tasted them. Oh yes. Oh. Yes. And it’s kinda like stealing God’s thunder to hold some sort of claim to the deliciousness of this dessert because all I did was make a crust and that was good, but the peaches were definitely the star of the show.


Some of the peach tart tasters dolloped a little whipped cream on top. And if the spirit moves you, definitely follow suit. Just know that you don’t even need the cream. Unnecessary.


There’s a teensy peek at the crust because I’m obviously smitten with these peaches and not giving attention to the thing that I’m actually providing a recipe for. Similar to Marie, I obviously can’t be trusted.


And then we went to the river. Holding onto summer for dear life…

P.S. Saturday (the day we ate these) was National Peach Pie Day. I’m so with it. Take that, Marie
Peach Tarts


1 1/2 cups ww pastry flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Sprinkle salt
7 TBS earth balance
1 tsp powdered egg replacer mixed with 2 TBS water
1/2 tsp maple extract
4-5 peaches, depending on size
Optional- sugar for peaches, depending on sweetness


Combine dry ingredients in food processor. Add earth balance and mix until you get a sandy texture. Add “egg” and extract. Pulse until a dough forms. Divide dough into eight equal sections and press into miniature individual pie tins (or a muffin tin would work). Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and slice peaches. Let crusts cool completely, fill with peaches and top with whipped cream if desired.

Thai Peanut Salad Dressing

We have a comedian in the family.

J Man: (excitedly) “Do you want to hear a joke?”

Me: “Of course!”

J Man: “What do you call a frozen tree?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

J Man: “A Popsicle!” (Followed by raucous laughter)

I don’t get it.

He’s obviously making these jokes up, and honestly may be a smidge confused as to what a joke is, as evidenced below.

J Man: “Hey, Mommy, wouldn’t it be funny if a wolf came into our house and went into our basement? Would that be a funny joke?”

At least he’s honest in his joke naivety.

Here’s something that’s not a joke. I put peanut butter on almost anything I can get my hands on.

Peanut Butter Scones

Chocolate Peanut Butter Doughnuts

Thai Peanut Soup

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Even my latest success, Tofu Balls

Salad is totally the next step.


As most of my salads go, this was built purely out of the necessity of using up wilty produce. I had my romaine, carrots, cucumber and tomato. The dressing is a big deal, though. It can make or break a salad.


The combination of Bragg’s liquid aminos and peanut butter is a match made in heaven. Probably, just mixing those two ingredients would taste good. But I wasn’t born in a barn, so I added garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar and almond milk.

And all of a sudden I wasn’t eating boring, wilty produce. Topped with some sunflower seeds for crunch, it was the perfect lunch!


This girl agreed. She kept stealing bites. But then again, you probably shouldn’t trust her. She actually thinks her brother’s jokes are funny.

P.S. She styled her own look in the above picture. I can’t even blame this one on Matty B…

Thai Peanut Salad Dressing


1/3 cup almond milk
2 TBS Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 TBS peanut butter
2 TBS peanut flour
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger


Combine all ingredients in a blender or magic bullet. Purée to desired consistency.
the veggie nook