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Finnish Summer Potato Salad ♥ An Ode to Finnish Potatoes

Today's Recipe: Perfect for your Midsummer celebration this Friday and Saturday, a simple potato salad of new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette, made just like Finns make potato salad during summer. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". Today's Conversation: A guide to the special spuds that come from Finland, a national obsession with potatoes this time of year.
A quick note: With this recipe, I'm experimenting with both a larger and a vertical-orientation photo. If you like it or if you don't, please do say! I don't expect any problems but just in case, especially on mobile phones and tablets, please do let me know if something's a little wonky. ~AK
I know, I know. Is a potato – a plain ol' potato??? – worth so much adulation? But yes, Finnish potatoes are special. They're firm but soft when cooked, the flesh is a pretty yellow color with thin and light-colored skins that peel easily with no more than your fingers. They&#…

Chinese Cucumber Salad ♥ from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Today's easy cucumber salad recipe: A refreshing change from the “usual” cucumber and tomato salads, just fresh cucumbers briefly soaked in a soy sauce and toasted sesame oil sauce. Very Weight Watchers Friendly, just WW 1 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
HEY WORD DANCERS! We’re familiar with “bread” and “gravy" and “dough" as synonyms for money but really, who knew that “cucumber” is another metonym? (New word for me!) Well, if only we had a greenback for every one of the gargantuan green cucumbers the garden will spit out for the next couple of months while it’s hot-hot-hot. “There was just one cucumber today,” I reported one morning last year after a sweaty session hauling hoses across the yard. “Not possible,” was the grunt of a response. Well, who knew, too, that said cucumbers hide under those giant itch-inducing leaves? The haul would have filled a small bank vault.

Now we do l-o-v-e cucumbers (starting an…

Asian Slaw ♥ with Sugar Snap Peas & Almonds

Today's Salad Recipe: A new take on coleslaw, starting with familiar cabbage but adding the crisp crunch of sugar snap peas and toasted almonds, all tossed in an Asian-style dressing. Lots of color! A good salad for home or a potluck contribution. Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 1 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". Today's Conversation: The usefulness of a giant salad bowl.
Anyone else sharing a kitchen with a giant salad bowl, you know, one big enough to house a small child or a cornucopia of salad?

A couple of years back, we were gifted one by a niece who "knows" this kitchen almost as well as I – she and I work side-by-side for family parties, knowing exactly how to feed a pile of people in short order. What Laura also knows is that the typical family potluck can yield a buffetful of food with a surfeit of protein and sweets but bereft of a fresh green salad. So one day she walked in with said giant sa…

Easy Easy Radish Appetizer ♥

Today's quick 'n' easy 'n' pretty appetizer! Just thin slices of radish atop a creamy spread like Boursin and a salty cracker like a Melba Toast. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Vegetarian.
Ah, the glory that is summer! For the next few months, we live and eat so richly. There are so many fresh food choices, whether we shop at supermarkets or farmers markets or pull fresh-grown vegetables from our own gardens. It's easy to over-indulge! Luckily it's healthy vegetables and not chocolate cake!

For the next while, I'd like to ask a favor: watch for good radishes, perfectly crisp and crunchy – and then buy a few and taste them, really taste them, experiencing the rush of that wet crunch. Because if ever there's a time to fall in love with radishes, it's now, fresh from the ground. Did you know? I didn't until this year, when our garden began to pitch out radishes like crazy, pretty pure white ones this year, hotter than blazes, f…

Morning Glory Muffins ♥

Today's muffin recipe: The iconic Morning Glory Muffin, still studded with raisins and apple and grated carrot but better suited to today's food sensibility, with upgrades like butter, whole wheat flour and honey and a secret ingredient.

Today' conversation: Things you might want to know about other morning glory muffins, the calories, the Weight Watchers point, how long they take to make, etc.
So here's all you really need to know about this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. It's the same classic recipe, just better, way better. For flavor, it calls for butter instead of oil but just half the amount of fat. The flour is half whole wheat. The sweetness comes from some sugar but also from warm spices and honey and – the real secret ingredient – apple butter. So if you crave a classic moist, barely sweet muffin, studded with carrot and apple and raisins and nuts, this is your recipe, just like I've made it mine.

But three things you might want to know about Mo…

Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting ♥ with Ginger & Orange
for Macarons, Cake or Sandwich Cookies

Who's up for a challenge, won't you join me?! For the first time, I tried making the classic French macarons (which are totally not the coconut "macaroons" of my childhood) and filled them with a gorgeous buttercream frosting, one with the real taste and texture of sweet potato! If you're up for a macaron challenge, read on, it just might be fun!
Procrastination comes all-too easily to an "I can do everything, really I can!" individual like me. So I'm squeaking in j-u-s-t b-a-r-e-l-y with my entry in the First Annual Macaron Challenge from Sucré, the New Orleans sweet shop. (If you're inclined, click through and vote for A Veggie Venture's contribution, there's no need to register and I'd much appreciate it! Voting ends May 31, 2014.)

You see, Sucré challenged thirteen fabulous food bloggers to come up with our own sweet takes on the French macaron, one of Sucré's own specialties. So here I am, this morning, this very morning,…

Paleo Carrot Soup ♥ with Cardamom, Ginger & Coconut Milk
from Nom Nom Paleo

Today's Recipe: A gorgeous, simple warm carrot soup, with just enough fresh ginger, cardamom and coconut milk. Weight Watchers Friendly, just WW 3 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

Today's Conversation: Paleo vs real food, what do we think?
So here's my take.

Paleo didn't "invent" or even "discover" a new way of healthy eating. Instead, those who cook "paleo" extend the definition of whole food – real food – to a new extreme.

So those of us who have been cooking with and eating whole food / real food for years, even our whole lives, some times feel puzzled about all the attention paleo gets. Honestly? It sounds like a lot of hype. One example. When I call for "beef" in a recipe, I assume that cooks will make their own choices about its source: that is, that we all will choose organic, local, grass-fed, pasture-raised – or not – according to our own food sensibil…