Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

If you have a can of pumpkin puree leftover from Thanksgiving baking, I urge you to give this soup a try. Hearty, comforting and a tad spicy, it’s not overly pumpkin-y. This recipe is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food bloggers and author of a new cookbook coming out in 2012. My version is more rustic, thick with chunks of tomatoes and beans, and fresh chiles and chipotle powder to lend a southwest twist. Continue reading

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Snow Day Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower

Winter descended on New Mexico last week. We encountered snow as we drove into the hills north of Santa Fe; six inches of powder covered the ground at Hyde Memorial State Park where we camped for a few days.

Hyde Memorial State Park

A snowy hike left us hungry for something comforting and warm, and Cheesy Cauliflower fit the bill. I’d like to say we ate this with a big, healthy green salad, but the truth is we devoured the gooey goodness on it’s own – we were in a rush to meet some fellow RVers for wine and a game of dominos! The thermometer read 11 degrees when we got “home” that night. Continue reading

Totally Flexible Farro Salad

Nutty, toothsome farro is one of my all-time favorite grains, and I love farro salads because they’re so versatile. I’ve been making a lot of these in the Minnie because they come together quickly and allow me to use whatever veggies I have on hand.

Following are some basic proportions to create a dish packed with flavor and texture. Tailor these ingredient suggestions to your personal taste. To create a heartier one-dish meal, I add a shredded chicken or a link of quality sausage.

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Spiced Apple Yogurt Pancakes

In the late 1800s, Mormon settlers planted fruit trees in the small community of Fruita along the Fremont River. Now part of Capitol Reef National Park, the orchards are still maintained by the park service and the abundant fruit is available for picking. We stayed at the Fruita Campground and picked a few pounds of these small heirloom Red Delicious apples, which were absolutely nothing like the mealy bright red version found in grocery stores. We had some company while we picked, too!

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How to Make a Frozen Pizza

  1. Arrive in camp around 6pm. Agree to make a frozen pizza because it is hot and you are feeling lazy and vaguely cranky and just want to read.
  2. Guiltily think about all the fresh vegetables you’ve acquired over the past few days, and consider how long they’ll last.
  3. Decide to add a big salad to the dinner menu.
  4. Heat a pot of water to boil tiny red potatoes unearthed from your parent’s garden.
  5. When searching for herbs in the fridge, grumble a little when the mozzarella falls off the shelf. Set it on the counter and forget about it. Continue reading

Blackberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins

A tangle of blackberry vines surrounding our campsite in Sunset Bay, Oregon, inspired these breakfast treats. Tangy orange zest and juicy blackberries are paired with hearty cornmeal in a moist, crumbly muffin.

Blackberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh orange zest
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  • 1 cup blackberries, tossed in 1 Tbs flour

Preheat oven to 375° and line twelve muffin cups with liners.

Sift together flour and baking powder and whisk in cornmeal, sugar, salt and orange zest. Whisk together melted butter, milk, orange juice and eggs. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Gently fold in blackberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden and a tester comes out clean.

Watermelon Salad

Food is always my top priority when travelling (actually, it’s always a top priority). What are we going to eat? Is anyone hungry? Do we have enough food? When are we stopping for lunch/snacks/dinner/ice cream? Was that a bakery? Especially while on vacation, meals mark the passing of time, and fill the hours usually devoted to office work or emails.

Our meals so far have been simple but satisfying, as our rigorous schedule of sightseeing and hiking leaves little time for food preparation. It’s a rough life. We’ve focused on dishes that can be made quickly, trying to match our foods to the weather outside – which is to say, hearty pastas when it’s chilly, and big salads when it’s roasting, like this weekend when temperatures soared into the 90s.

More a list of suggested ingredients than a real “recipe,” this easy Watermelon Salad is a refreshing accompaniment to BBQ & corn on the cob.

Watermelon Salad

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup cubed jicama
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
  • juice & zest of two limes
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped mint
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill up to one hour before serving.