Sooo this was supposed to be my red white and blue post…but time has a way of flying by, especially when it’s summer and you are… well… swimming and hanging out by the pool every day! Oh well,  regardless of the timeliness of being able to eat red white and blue cottage cheese pancakes on the 4th of July (I’m sure your devastated), these light, fluffy and protein packed breakfast cakes are a delish must try!  I promise you don’t even have to like cottage cheese, my kids do and my husband does not, and neither did one of my daughters friends.  In fact, when Liv requested cottage cheese pancakes in the morning after a sleepover her little girlfriend scrunched up her nose and said “no thank you, I hate cottage cheese.”  But after they were made and had plump ripe berries on the top she was willing to give’em a try.  After finishing three cakes she said, “Can you teach my mom how to make these”?
Now I have made a million different types of pancakes, usually trying to “healthy” them up of course, but these are among the fluffiest I have ever produced!  My kids can’t get enough of them, so I make a double batch and keep them in a container in the fridge.  When we are need of a fast breakfast or snack I pop one of those babies in the toaster and it comes out perfectly warm with just a little crisp on the outside.  Let me know how you like them, and also if you are or are not typically a fan of cottage cheese!


recipe adapted from
1 cup cottage cheese

3 eggs (you can use egg whites only to lower the caloric total even more)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey (can sub agave or maple syrup)

½ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder


Puree the cottage cheese, eggs and honey in a food processor or blender for about 30 seconds. In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients.  Add the puree mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, do not over mix.  The batter is thick, so I use a wooden spoon to spoon it onto the *hot griddle.

Preheat a griddle, skillet, or any flat bottomed pan on medium/low heat.
*The pancakes need to be cooked on a lower heat for a little longer than normal pancakes.
Add some butter or cooking spray to the pan if you’re pan isn’t non stick.  If it is non-stick, you probably won’t need any additional butter or oil to prevent sticking.

Scoop the pancakes onto the preheated griddle and use the back of the spoon to spread the pancakes out a bit.  Cook for about 4 minutes per side.
*The outside of the pancakes will be a deep golden brown when they’re done, not a light golden brown.
Serve immediately with fresh berries and maple syrup.
This recipe makes about 12-14 dollar size pancakes.

 Feed Them to Your Favorite People:)

Grilled Summer Whole-Wheat Flatbread

It’s summer time… (Enter Rascal Flats tune here…) and our family tries to both cook and eat outside for every meal. I try to never cook inside to keep the need for air conditioning down to nothing. Now with our new house, which is nestled in the middle of a dozen or so beautiful trees, we never seem to need artificial/conditioned air so I really don’t want to mess up the balance of this wonderful environment we have going! So… the grill is my kitchen in the summer months!
Also, I have learned over the years that the kids just love to have a dinner time “theme.” We have done taco Tuesdays, pizza Fridays, breakfast for dinner night and meatless Mondays and everything else in between. The kids get excited when they know what to expect (but still have a surprise with fillings and toppings etc…). Right now we are all on a pizza/flatbread kick so we have pizza 1-2 nights per week. I really like this basic flatbread recipe for the dough.  It doesn’t contain yeast and it is so easy to throw together. I love a super thin crispy crust that still has a bit of a chew to it. This dough meets those requirements!  This post is especially dedicated to my new friend Pricilla, who isn’t convinced that grilled pizza is a super simple dinner optionJ.  So Pricilla (and everyone else who has never grilled pizza or flatbread) give this a try and let me know how it comes out!

The whole-wheat flatbread dough (serves four)

1 cup whole wheat flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting as you roll out the dough
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼  teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup fat-free Greek yogurt (if your herbs are very moist you may only need ½ cup of yogurt)

No need to get out the mixer (then there is less to wash after dinner).  Just use your hands to mix this dough. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley in a medium mixing bowl.  Slowly incorporate the yogurt, adding ¼ cup of yogurt at a time, mixing until the dough is smooth. The dough should just pull together and release from your hands when it’s ready.  Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour.


This is totally up to you and your taste buds! This pizza was made with our favorite summer toppings:
1 ½ lb ripe fresh beef steak tomatoes
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 cup of fresh pesto (recipe below)
½ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (fancy term for cutting into long, thin strips) or torn
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling (optional)


Pre heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium/high heat. Assemble all of your toppings on a try to take out to the grill with you. Remove dough from plastic wrap and place on a floured board and separate into 2 pieces or 4 if you want to make individual flatbreads. Roll out to desired thickness. You could try and make it pretty and round, but I don’t bother, I like a more rustic shape, AKA I don’t have the patience for perfectly round pizza dough! Oil one side of the dough and slip it onto the grill. Grill until nice grill marks form, about 3 minutes.  Then oil the top of the flat bread and flip it over with a metal grill spatula, like flipping a pancake.
Brush the grilled top with pesto (recipe below) then layer the tomatoes and mozzarella. Grill until the bottom is cooked and nice grill marks form, approximately 3 minutes. Slide flatbreads onto a tray or sheet pan and top with basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Enjoy your grilled pizza and your cool house!
Side one almost done! Time to Flip!
Ready for toppings

Just close the lid and wait for the cheese to start getting all melty:)
Add your basil and Enjoy!

Basil Pesto

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup - 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
into the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processer still running, slowly pour ½ cup of olive oil. Check for a thick, yet smooth consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning as necessary/to taste.
Follow this peso recipe through adding the oil and freeze for a quick last minute pasta or pizza sauce or sandwich spread. After it’s defrosted add the parmesan!


Back From Hiatus

It’s been WAY too long! We have had several life changing events that have kept me from my little hobby blog. But alas I can sit comfortably and write…The first event was last fall my daughter Liv was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called, Henoch–Schönlein purpura nephritis. This disease has caused her to be hospitalized quite a bit over the last seven months. She also missed over 30 days of school. Having a sick child takes a huge toll on the family unit, but with a strong loving bond and a lot of answered prayers we have all managed to make it through. I truly believe we are all more grateful for each other today! I am also happy to report that my beautiful strong Liv is doing much better! She is followed closely by a nephrologist and still has to provide bimonthly labs, but she is stronger every day!
The bright sunshine that followed that dark cloud of illness was the purchase of our new home! Just a little over 30 days ago we moved to a beautiful new home! We couldn’t be more thrilled with our new place! We couldn’t bear to leave El Dorado Hills, so we only moved 4 miles down the road, but we nearly doubled our inside square footage and quadrupled our outdoor space. We have a great new entertaining space both indoors and out, and so much room to garden I feel like a giddy school girl! We are of course still getting settled, but the hard work is done and now we are moving on to decoratingJ As a family we all collectively agree that our expansive new deck is our favorite new space. We have rarely eaten a meal inside since the move. Our outdoor table transformed from the place where we ate dinner about four nights a week to the primary eating space in the house, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  
One of our favorite recent spring dinners was grilled spiced lemon salmon skewers. It was a family hit, and the cold leftover salmon made a fantastic salad for the lunch the next day! Have a great al fresco dinner and let me know how you like the recipe!

Grilled Spiced Lemon Salmon Skewers
(Adapted from Bon Appétit June 2013)

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh lemon thyme
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ pounds skinless salmon fillet (preferably wild), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 hour


Prepare grill for medium heat. Mix oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set spice mixture aside.
Beginning and ending with salmon, thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total. Thread salmon pieces onto two skewers so they don't flip and spin every time you turn them on the grill. Brush with oil and season with reserved spice mixture.  Grill, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, 5–8 minutes.
Enjoy with a cold quinoa salad and a glass of sauvignon blanc!