Escarole, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup

by Lori on March 27, 2012

March is one of those months that’s all over the place: warm, windy and dry one day, cool, cloudy and damp the next.  Back and forth it goes much like that of a fickle friend.  And somewhere in between it all, spring slips in dragging winter along with her for one last hurrah.  I’m not complaining in the least. I welcome chilly gray days especially when they are accompanied by the sound of raindrops tapping on my windows – somewhat of a rare occurrence this year.

And oh how I’ve missed those days.  The ones where I cozy up next to the fire with no ambition other than to watch the rain poke holes in my to-do list.  It’s natures way of reining me back in to regroup and come up with another plan for the day.  Or not.

It’s a perfect reason to make soup – as if I really need a reason.


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As a home cook, there are times when I find myself challenged in the kitchen.  Fancy techniques and tricky recipes occasionally lure me in when I have the time and am feeling adventurous.  But this recent challenge isn’t about being adventurous in that way.  It’s about creating a recipe to satisfy two middle-school-aged kids and their ever-hungry tummies.  Between school and sports and adolescence, my kids are forever rummaging through our pantry and refrigerator (creating chaos in those areas, I might add).  So when the lovely folks at Peanut Butter & Co. and Bob’s Red Mill reached out to me and asked me to develop a recipe for their Nuts About Oats Recipe Contest and Sweepstakes, I knew it was a situation where necessity met opportunity.  And I needed to create a breakfast recipe that would be nutritious, substantial and occasionally portable because let’s face it, sometimes we need to eat in the car.  But most important of all, it had to be something my kids would want to eat.

Friends, I’m not really into shameless self-promotion, but I have to say I think I nailed it on this one.  The Peanut Butter and Oat-Crusted Breakfast Pizza covers all the prerequisites and it’s really good without being a sugar-laden breakfast food.  Everyone who was tasting for me on this recipe development journey loved the combination of chewy peanut-butter oat crust and creamy peanut butter spiked Greek yogurt.  There’s a hint of sweetness and cinnamon running throughout and the surprise of chopped peanuts and golden raisins in the crust.

Please don’t let the forks in the picture fool you.  They are merely props.  This is a pizza in every sense and is best eaten out of hand.

To get the recipe you will have to visit  While you’re there, I would LOVE it if you’d vote for my recipe (by voting you’ll have the chance to win something too as there are 5 $100 prize packages up for grabs).  It would mean so much to me if you did because the competition is really tough.  I’m up against some very talented food bloggers and they all brought their A-game to this contest with some incredible breakfast and brunch recipes.  Wow!

Thank you to Peanut Butter & Co. and Bob’s Red Mill for inviting me to participate in this contest.  I received free products to use in my recipe testing and a small honorarium for my participation.


There’s a time of day when the intensity of midday light finally subsides and the sun slowly lowers itself in the sky creating a wash of warm light bathed in a soft, golden glow.

Shadows stretch wider and longer with a playful seriousness.  Mountains take on new dimension with angular light that catches and hides their peaks and folds.  Green leaves gently flutter in the breeze and shimmer in the golden light.

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Hunza Pie

by Lori on February 14, 2012

Over the past five months or so, I’ve watched the angle of the summer sun flatten and slowly lose its dimension until the earth lay silent and still under the graceful shadow of winter light.  It’s an expected, anticipated cycle that comes with the passage of seasons.  A time to move slowly finding comfort and renewal indoors instead of out.

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Hawaiian Coconut Candy

by Lori on January 31, 2012

From the moment I start cooking something for a blog post, I begin to think about how I want to style it, often sketching out something onto the recipe itself or on a separate piece of paper if room doesn’t permit.  And while I’m making pictures along the way, words and snippets of thought to be included in the post freely move about in my head like internal dialogue in a comic strip.  I’m so in the moment, trying to achieve the shots I want, that I don’t take time to jot down my thoughts.  Multi-tasking while in my creative mode isn’t something I’m particularly interested in.  I’ve come to realize this isn’t the best way to roll because days may go by before I’m able to sit down and actually write the post.  It’s often hard to get that word mojo back while trying to connect the thoughts that linger in my memory.  Of course this is with the assumption that the words and snippets are still there and haven’t been replaced by a million and one other parcels of life that have been grouped under the heading of “distractions.”

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Photo Friday: Heart In The Clouds

by Lori on January 20, 2012

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California



Colored Cauliflower Faux Potato Salad

January 19, 2012

I have been unsuccessful with roasted cauliflower.  And I don’t know why.  Maybe I skimped on the olive oil needed during roasting.  Maybe I didn’t roast it long enough or at a high-enough heat to get that characteristic roasted nuttiness.  Maybe I didn’t break up the florets to the right size so they’d roast evenly.  […]

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Peppermint Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

January 17, 2012

I know we’re all supposed to be starting the New Year off right with a renewed sense of mindful eating and physical fitness, and here I am showing up with an ice cream post.  In January no less. But I have a pulse and feel it’s more important to not deprive oneself of the little […]

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Photo Friday: Serenity

January 13, 2012

A straight-out-of-the-camera shot taken just outside of Independence, California along Highway 395 © 2010-2012 Lemons and Lavender  

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Charred Brussels Sprout Leaves with Almonds

January 11, 2012

I have always been a very cookbook-dependent cook.  And like so many others, I too have spent countless hours reading cookbooks like novels, familiarizing myself with recipes to the extent that there are no questions when I set out to make them.  I enjoy it and have been doing so since I was a kid.  […]

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