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December 2013

refresh me {green smoothie recipe}

winter refresher green smoothie eso yes, i got spoiled rotten.  my husband is amazing and he craigs-listed-like-a-maniac and bought me a vitamix.  i’ve lusted longed and researched and after many years of pleading my case, i won his culinary sympathies and now i am a raw-smoothie-and-soup-making-fiend.

winter refresher green smoothie

tonight we celebrate the passing of a year and welcome in the new, filled with hope and longing for what lies ahead.  we make vows, some of us, to be better inside and out.  i’m not quite done feasting on the indulgent (we’ll have a giant fondue spread with friends this evening), but i’m longing for fresh and this is what i whipped up at daybreak.

winter refresher green smoothie b

it’s super simple, and with a little extra prep, it can be made in a standard blender, as well. little tip?  this has fresh cranberries.  they go on sale super cheap before the winter holidays.  i always buy several bags and freeze them, and they hold up wonderfully!  just in case you get a summer craving for their tart flavor!

winter refresher green smoothie c

want the recipe? here you go.  (p.s. – i threw in a handful of cacao nibs – adds a hit of chocolatey flavor and nutritional punch.)  enjoy!


Winter Refresher Green Smoothie


  • 1 cup water or water kefir
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 apple, quartered, stem removed
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled


  1. Place ingredients in order listed into the pitcher of a high-speed blender.
  2. Beginning on low speed, quickly move to high speed.
  3. Blend for one minute, or until smooth and liquefied.
  4. Serve over ice.

winter refresher green smoothie d  dancing divider webb

Dark Chocolate, Blood Orange, and Thyme Quinoa Cupcakes

…with blood orange honey buttercream.  YUM.

quinoa blood orange cupcakes dancing with my father c

participating in mccormick gourmet’s go 4 gourmet contest has been the perfect “external motivation” to create some fun new recipes this fall/winter.  i love the combination of orange and chocolate, and when our local natural foods store filled the bins with blood oranges, i knew how i wanted to play.

it’s almost new year’s, and while like most of us, i’m determined to get moving again on health-i-fying, i’m not completely done baking.  so i’ve worked some delicious, and health-conscious, ingredients into this cupcake.  🙂

quinoa blood orange cupcakes dancing with my father a

steeping thyme into the quinoa and then again into the frosting gives an almost smoky-savory hint to this rich dessert.  the honey in the buttercream adds warmth and depth to the frosting, and the blood orange and orange liqueur add a tart element that brightens the whole thing!  (my next goal is to make a frosting entirely with natural sugars.)  i used my microplane to top these with shaved orange-essence dark chocolate.

quinoa blood orange cupcakes dancing with my father b

my first batch of quinoa cake didn’t turn out so well – i tried doing a citrus glaze pour-over, and i didn’t blend the quinoa, resulting in a chewy-almost-crunchy cake that stuck to the pan.  not-so-yum.  these, though, have a bit of texture from the quinoa, but a near-pudding-ey texture that is hard to explain, but got devoured by my kiddos.  in fact, i let them have the rest of the batch (the frosting had run out!) for breakfast.  herbs and ancient grains, coconut oil and kefir – it’s the breakfast of champions!

Dark Chocolate, Blood Orange, and Thyme Quinoa Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used milk kefir)
  • 1 peeled, quartered blood orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For Frosting:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 peeled, quartered blood orange
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cooked, cooled quinoa in blender with dried thyme, kefir (or buttermilk), 2 whole eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, and coconut sugar.
  3. Blend thoroughly.
  4. Sift in cocoa, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  5. Blend again thoroughly.
  6. In a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  7. Gently fold in blender mixture.
  8. Scoop cupcake batter 3/4 full into well-sprayed or paper-lined muffin cups.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched.
  10. For Frosting:
  11. Place second blood orange, honey, thyme, and liqueur into small saucepan.
  12. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for five minutes, or until syrup has thickened slightly.
  13. Strain, and allow to cool.
  14. Beat butter with confectioner's sugar, adding 1/3 cup at a time until a thick, creamy consistency is reached.
  15. Slowly stream orange reduction into frosting while beating.
  16. Pipe onto cupcakes.

want the recipe to print for yourself?  here you go.


dancing divider webb

on waiting.

 sometimes you find yourself waiting.  here, in the Shadowlands, waiting for what’s next.  waiting for sweetnesses.  waiting for Light.

florida landscape photography

what you remember, then,  is that the waiting hurts.

in the waiting, you realize you’re broken.  impatient.  fear-driven.

in the waiting, you see your tendencies to self-preservation at the cost of mercy and grace-giving.

but when the waiting becomes watching, the Light is evident, peeking through the dark.  Hope reigns.

dancing divider webb