Apple Pie.

There are a few “basic” recipes every person benefits from having in his/her toolbox. When I say “basic,” I don’t always mean uncomplicated (hello, lasagna), but everyone has a version of these recipes that is theee best. I won’t argue with your chosen recipes! I’m not here to usurp Grandma’s/Granddaddy’s/Aunt Ethel’s authority on the classics because I myself am well-versed at bucking the system and making my own. I know I like semi-cakey, very salty chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free, vegetarian lasagna, so that’s what Imma make and tell you all about. This pie is one of those. I like uncomplicated pie. Dash of this, sprinkle of that. I don’t like anything that makes my sourpuss glands swell from sweetness, and I definitely want the layers of clean flavor to shine. I also want crust. Don’t get me wrong: this pie is all about the apples. However, let’s just say the crust kicks enough ass and is hefty enough to give the apples a run for their money. PLEASE NOTE that you make two totally separate crust batches. Now, about the apples. I prefer to bake apple and peach pies when they’re in season and I get the fruit fresh. They taste best then! My mouth starts itching come September for an apple pie, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get a massive slice by the first of October. It’s still apple season, so get pickin’ and bake this me-oh-my pie!

Crust: Make 2 of the following recipe.

1 c flour

1/2 c butter (1 stick), cold and sliced into 1/4″ slices

~1/4 c ice water + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Dash salt


6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 c sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Dash nutmeg

Dash salt

2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven and a baking stone at 375 degrees. Start with the apples. In a large bowl, sprinkle sugar, spices, and lemon juice over prepared apples. Toss to combine and allow to sit for 1 hour. Next, work on the crust. Sift together flour and salt. Using food processor or hands, incorporate butter into flour until coarse and sandy. Drizzle vinegary ice water into flour mixture until dough just barely comes together. Pat into a 1″ thick round disc and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Pop into freezer. Repeat with second batch. After 1 hour, place a strainer over a bowl and pour apple mixture into strainer, allowing liquid to drain out for 10 minutes. Return apples to original bowl and pour liquid into a saucepan. Over medium heat, allow apple liquid to come to a boil. Do not stir. Mixture will turn a deeper brown and bubble up completely. Once entire mixture is bubbles, reduce heat to low and stir in 2 tbsp butter until a caramel consistency is reached. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Take out one pie crust and flour a large bench area. Roll out disc to approximately 15″ in diameter. Move dough to a lightly buttered 9″ pie plate and be sure to lightly press into the crease. Pour apples into pie crust and top with caramel. Roll out remaining pie crust to 15″ in diameter again; place over top of apples and tuck behind edges of bottom crust. Gently pinch edges to scalloped shape. In the center, cut 8 slits to allow steam to escape while baking. Sprinkle top with 1 tsp sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes on top of a hot baking stone until edges are beautifully golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 hour before enjoying.

Open-Face Pickle and Tomato Sandwich.

I hesitated to write this post. Veggie sandwiches seem to be pretty intuitive; you pick some veggies, slice ’em thin, and then carefully place them on a slice of bread or toast. Dress it up how you want it. Mayo? K! Cheese? Sounds good. Hummus?! Sure! How about some wasabi? Never tried it, but it’d probably be really awesome. I’m not sure if any of you have this issue, but the cookie does not always crumble in the most satisfying ways. I pile too many things, season one too few layers, let the tomatoes soak the bread too long, put mayo when I wanted spicy mustard…it just doesn’t always go well. When I have a veggie sandwich, I want crunch. Balance. Something that will mostly stay together when I take a bite. Briny tanginess mixed with cool freshness. It’s really hard to do well. This creation was borne out of a total obsession with tomato sandwiches lately and a drive for that briny/tangy/sweet/cool/crunchy combo that makes my day. Bust out your big slices of bread, toast ’em hard, and pile/lightly place away!

1 slice grainy bread, toasted and cooled

1 small tomato, sliced thin

2 tbsp hummus

1/2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

1 dill pickle spear, sliced thin longways

Salt and pepper

Evenly spread hummus on the slice of toast. Sprinkle feta and press down to secure. Season lightly with salt. Gently place tomato slices to cover the toast. Top with dill pickle spears and a light sprinkling of pepper. Enjoy immediately!


Both my kids keep calling these things waffles, and I can’t find it not funny so I go with it. These! These tiny, fried, flavor-packed lovers have made it to the dinner rotation. Surprisingly, I was having trouble going totally meatless. My kids have started eating a TON of meat, and I was feeling a bit guilty for being such a resource suck. I like these for their protein and simplicity, AND you can dress ’em up however you want! My older kid ate the falafels plain and then gobbled up a few veggie pita wraps. No complaints here! I’m not including a recipe for dressing of any kind because I didn’t make one. My husband used some caesar salad dressing we had in the fridge, and I used a little feta and a few squeezes of lemon to dress mine up. We loaded pita pockets with falafels, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a few other fancies that made our tastebuds sing. I think they’d be super yum atop a salad with a tangy dressing. Tomorrow’s lunch…!! To make things eeeeven better, these puppies are vegan if you don’t include feta, etc. 

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 c packed fresh herbs (I used a combination of parsley and cilantro), rinsed and dried

4 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 c flour (any kind will work)

Vegetable oil for frying

Optional: pita pockets (warmed and halved), spring mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad dressing, tahini, lemon, feta

In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic cloves until finely minced; remove from processor and set aside. Pile beans, herbs, spices, and salt into food processor; pulse until roughly chopped but not pureed, about 15 times. Add in onion mixture and 1/4 c flour and pulse to combine. Check mixture for moisture content; if it’s too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. (My falafel batter was really sticky but it turned out great.) Scrape out of food processor bowl into another bowl; cover; refrigerate for an hour. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, pour enough vegetable oil to fill pan 1/2″. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using a small measuring scoop, drop ~1 tbsp portions into the hot oil and carefully flatten. Do not overcrowd the pan! Turn when edges are browned and remove onto a cooling rack when browned all over. Keep hot in a warm oven while still on the cooling rack.

Zucchini Tater Tots.

These are 100% Pinterest-attributed. I was innocently scrolling, they showed up in my feed, my mouth started watering, yadda yadda, and I made these to go with dinner tonight. My favorite part about this recipe is the itty bitty ingredient list. Literally, including salt, you use 4 ingredients. Four. Unless it’s a banana, I rarely eat something with so few ingredients. Both my kids liked ’em, even though I had to convince my six-year-old to chew the whole thing up and swallow before he made his final judgment (thumbs up). Something we didn’t do was let these babies cool on a cooling rack, which probably would’ve allowed them to crunch up. They were pretty crunchy when they were piping hot, but I piled them into a bowl before they had a chance to release their steam. Word to the wise: don’t do that. Even soft, they were still really good, but crunch is good too. 

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and chopped into 1″ pieces

1 large zucchini, grated

2 tbsp high-heat oil (I used avocado oil), divided

Sea salt

Place potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook until potatoes are just fork tender. A little firmness is good. Drain; set aside to cool slightly. Place shredded zucchini in a thin towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out water until mostly dry. Using your hands, combine zucchini, potatoes, 1 tbsp oil, and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl, mashing potatoes until only small chunks remain. Shape into small 1″ cylinders or rectangles and place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Dab tops with remaining 1 tbsp oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and move tots immediately to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Curried Coconut Cauliflower Lentils.

1 c dry lentils

4 c cold water

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1-2 heaping tbsp curry powder

1 can coconut milk

Rice, cilantro, and soy sauce for serving (optional)

Olive oil

Sea salt

In a large saucepan with a lid, combine lentils, water, and bay leaf. Prop lid so that it releases some steam. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are soft but still intact. Drain and remove from pan, reserving bay leaf. In the same saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat and saute garlic for 30 seconds, seasoning lightly with salt. Add cauliflower and more salt and cook until cauliflower starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tbsp curry powder over cauliflower and garlic, stirring to generously coat each piece with curry powder. It should be dry. Stir for 1 minute, lightly toasting curry powder. Stir in lentils, reserved bay leaf, coconut milk, and a little more salt. Taste; adjust seasoning as necessary. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Serve over rice topped with cilantro and soy sauce.

Tomato Cappelini Pasta with Zucchini and Beans.

The Italian way to name this dish is “pasta e fagioli,” but I am so far from Italian, tomatoes get offended. That said, I do get along with many bright, veggie-filled Italian summer dishes in spite of my thick GermIrish heritage. This recipe is totally boring in the best way. It has few ingredients and lots of potential for additions. It’s filling and full of fiber but! leaves room for dessert later which is a must for this fat kid over here. It’s August; you still have plenty of time to throw this together with fresh local varieties of the listed ingredients. Go on, now! Get to it!

1/4 c onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

4 oz angel hair pasta

3 c boiling water

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Fresh basil, optional

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, saute onions over medium-high heat in 2 tbsp olive oil until softened, about 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add garlic and a pinch of salt; stir for 30 seconds. Toss in zucchini with another pinch of salt and stir to evenly distribute garlic and onion with the zucchini. When zucchini begins to barely soften and release moisture, add tomatoes and more salt and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove vegetables from pan and set them aside. In the same pan, pour in boiling water and 1/2 tsp salt. Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes or until noodles are fairly limp. Drain most of the water and add vegetables back into the pan; turn heat on high and allow pasta to finish cooking in the vegetable juices until it absorbs most of the liquid. Remove from heat and toss in beans. Top with basil, if desired.

Presto Vegan Lemon Basil Pesto.

All summer long, I’ve been growing a curious form of basil that has tiny leaves and chewy stems. It grows like a mofo, looks gorgeous, and the leaves are potently basil-y. My only issue is the stems. Usually basil is so tender and edible, but the stalks on which the itty-bitty delicate leaves grow are like chewing on twist-ties. Annoying. I assure you, I’ve been dealing with this monstrous inconvenience juuusssst fine and have been eating the shiznitty out of some basil, but I wish I wish I wish the stems were a little softer. It was partly out of leaf-plucking laziness and partly out of a desperate need for an adult condiment for baked potatoes that lead me to make this gem of a pesto. Ever notice how so many pesto recipes have cheese? I HATE that. I don’t want cheese in my pesto! Thankfully, I wasn’t missing flavor in this recipe. Lemon and basil basically make out and produce flavor babies and my mouth throws them a party. This shit goes on anything. We put it on potatoes, but then I got ornery and put it on my cole slaw just to see what happened (I ate it) (it was really good) (I recommend it). When I found myself licking the bowl it was in, I felt shame for a split second and then high-fived myself for making such a damn good recipe. So make this green goop and put it on everything! A few notes: pesto is all about throwing flavorful things together in a food processor and assuming it’ll taste good. When I say “bunch of basil,” you might be all, “how big is her bunch” and I’ll be all “none of your business” and you’ll be all “I meant basil you moron” and I’ll be all “oh right um I think it was a handful” and you’ll be all “smh I hate you and your stupid non-recipes” and I’ll be all “I feel you but you can use as much basil as you want man” and you’ll be all “ok thx.” So go with your gut and assume it’ll all turn out delicious.

1/4 c almonds

1 large bunch basil, lightly torn

1 tsp sea salt

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c olive oil

In a small food processor, process almonds until they look like a cross between gravel and sand, about 1 minute. Add basil, salt, and lemon juice and process until mixture looks soft and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in olive oil and process until mostly smooth, about 45 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use immediately as a dip, dressing, condiment, or soup (no judgment here!).