Garden Tomatoes with Burrata Cheese

TomatoFinalMy garden is flourishing.  In fact, it’s not just flourishing, it’s growing enough food to feed a small army.  We are happy to share everything this mutant garden produces, except the tomatoes.

Have you ever tasted a super-ripe garden tomato that is one day away from turning to mush?

If your answer is no, you have not lived, my friend.
Perfection in a garden-grown tomato. No white, no chewy places, just super ripe goodness bursting with flavor.

After visiting one of my favorite Portland haunts with two of my favorite ladies and our husbands, I was inspired to find the biggest, ripest tomatoes and make a simple salad with quality ingredients.  Because flavorful, satisfying food doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  It just has to taste good.

I’ve been a fan of the traditional tomato mozzarella salad for many years.  Who doesn’t love mild, slightly creamy fresh cheese paired with the bright acidic flavor of a ripe tomato with a touch of basil?

(Okay, if you hate tomatoes or cheese, this is admittedly not the recipe for you.)

For the rest of the tomato loving world, this recipe will change the way you eat your tomato mozzarella salad.  In fact, you might never go back to store-bought tomatoes or mozzarella again after tasting this.

Burrata is a shell of fresh mozzarella, stuffed with cream and cheese curds.  It’s creamy, decadent, silky smooth, and provides the perfect accompaniment to those sweet, ripe tomatoes.

There are six ingredients to this and it takes roughly seven minutes to prepare.  But it is so impressive and addictive, I have a hunch you can get that prep time down to five minutes.  I will say this, though.  The quality of the ingredients is in direct correlation to the fantastic taste factor.  Without the quality ingredients I’ll list below, you will take this dish from a 10 to a 5.  So, if you want to do your tomatoes justice, spring for the ingredients.  You  won’t regret it.

I intentionally did not filter or tweak the colors in any of the pictures because I want you to see how beautiful and ripe these tomatoes are. It’s possible.


  • 2 large, very ripe tomatoes from the farmer’s market or your garden. (Deep red, people. No orangey red.) Pick ones that are on the cusp of being too ripe.  You can also ripen them in a window sill for a day or two.
  • 1 ball of fresh burrata cheese (I found mine at Whole foods.)
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp organic olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • kosher-style sea salt


  1. Remove burrata from refrigerator, drain water, and set aside.
  2. Slice whole tomatoes one inch thick.
  3. Arrange tomato slices on a platter and top with basil, fresh cracked pepper, and salt.
  4. Place burrata in the center of the tomato slices. Lightly drizzle entire plate with organic olive oil.
  5. Serve and devour immediately.
  6. My husband and I ate this for dinner the other night.  Just this.  Nothing else.  Because we are adults who love good food and also don’t like expending energy on a 95 degree day unless we have to.

Toematoe Tomahhtoe,



Salted Sunbutter Cups with Raw Chocolate {Paleo}

Sunbutter Cups Bite
Joy comes in a new, creamy, salty, sweet form.

Friends.  I’ve done the unthinkable.

I’ve given up refined Sugar for the summer.

No Salt & Straw.

No Petunia’s.

No sweet treats from Cascadia Bakery.

Because I have a problem.  Sugar means too much to me.  I can’t resist it right now.  I need to give it up for a while until I can use it responsibly.

Which might be never.  But I’m giving it until September, just to be sure. Because I don’t want the diabeetus.

One of my favorite treats is chocolate and peanut butter, but because of FPIES, we can’t keep peanuts in the house.  I love sunflower seed butter (aka sunbutter) as a substitute for peanut butter.  It’s safe for peanut and tree nut allergy peeps, and gives a comparable, creamy taste.  I don’t miss it peanut butter at all.  In fact, you can pretty much always find me with a spoonful of sunbutter in my hand when I get too busy and forget to feed myself.

I’m also pretty committed to using raw cacao nibs when possible.  Raw cacao is full of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and can help fight heart disease and lift your mood naturally.  With a little bit of coconut oil for good measure, these treats aren’t just freaking delicious, they’re also super healthy for you.

Sign me up.  Twice.

I shared these with some of my best friends who are also trying to leave that jerk, Sugar, behind.  The consensus? We can no longer live without them.

Sunbutter Mini Cups

Ingredients for Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 cup ground cacao nibs (I use my nutribullet, but a coffee grinder would work, too.)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Sunbutter Fudge Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sunbutter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for Chocolate Layer:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until fully incorporated.
  2. Pour into lined cupcake or mini-cupcake molds, filling about 1/3 of the way.
  3. Pop in freezer for 15 minutes until solid.

Directions for Sunbutter Fudge:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Pour mixture on top of frozen chocolate.
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
  4. Remove from refrigerator or freezer for 3 minutes, add flake salt on top, and devour.

These stay good forever in the freezer, and several weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  But good luck.  The sunbutter cups haven’t survived 24 hours in my house.  Maybe ever.

Open your heart and let the sunbutter in,


Kale Waldorf Salad

 This is my Gram.

She was a total fox, right?

She was full of snap and sparkle.  She had a sharp tongue and quick wit.  She lived a wild life before leaving this world at the ripe age of 91. In her younger years, she smooched plenty of cute boys, danced until dawn with a young Merv Griffin, Aaron Spelling, and Errol Flynn in San Francisco during WWII. She survived a near fatal car accident that resulted in a broken back, and a million other crazy things that would amaze you.  In her later years, Gram kicked a life-long addiction to alcohol, became the belle of her church singles group when she was in her 70’s after my grandfather passed away, and loved riding on the back of her church friends’ motorcycles in her leather Harley vest and boots. She was a complicated, outspoken, generous and amazing lady. I loved Gram then, and I love her still, brambles and all.

Gram was a devoted veggie lover. I’ve actually never seen anyone eat more vegetables without juicing them.  She ate a big salad for lunch every single day, and always ate salad at dinner, too.  And then she ate more veggies on the side.  She obsessed over vegetables, and salads in particular.  I’m certain her consumption of vegetables will be remembered for decades to come.

A few years ago, I found myself preparing a meal for most of my extended family for a small reception after Gram’s memorial service.  And since salad was her very favorite food group, I had to honor her, right?

Since 90% of the prep had to be done the night before, I needed to find something that could withstand overnight storage.  I needed to pull it out of the fridge and get it on the table in 10 minutes.  It also had to be something that I could eat and that my family would want to eat.  (Sometimes, we don’t always like the same things.  Shocking, I know.)

Kale definitely fit the bill. I knew that my mom would really like it, since she is my Gram’s daughter.  I knew my brother would probably try it, even though he really dislikes kale, just because he trusts my cooking.  I also have a previous track record of helping him overcome aversions to certain foods, like brussels sprouts.  My dad is ridiculously easy to please.  My cousin and his wife are mostly vegetarian, and are fairly food-adventurous.  As for the rest of the family, they would either try it to be nice, or discreetly move on to the chicken salad and veggie tray.

But all those reasons aside, I knew Gram would love this dish and enjoy every bite. I hummed her favorite 40’s songs while I prepped, and smiled when I served it in her favorite wooden salad bowl.



2 bunches of kale, de-stemmed and cut into ribbons

2 cruncy apples, sliced into little quarter-moon pieces (I prefer honey crisp or pink lady)

1/2 cup dried unsweetened blueberries or currants

1/2 cup pine nuts

3 Tbsp (heaping) stone ground mustard

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp basalmic vinegar

1/2 small lemon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

black pepper to taste


  1. In a VERY LARGE BOWL, place your prepared kale, apples, mustard, vinegars, mustard and lemon juice then mix well.
  2. Add dried blueberries, pine nuts and nutmeg
  3. Mix everything together using your hands and gently squeeze until kale starts to reduce slightly in volume.
  4. Taste it.  What does it need?  Pepper?  More nutmeg?  More baslamic vinegar?  Add it.
  5. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Making food that connects me to the people I love long after they’ve passed is a way for me to actively keep who they were to me alive and tangible, even through a dish as simple as a salad.  The power of food is incredible.  Thank you for letting me share it with you.


Veggie Lover for Life,