fennel-roasted carrot + shallot salad w/ shaved apples

we're sitting here in the midst of a (non) blizzard, hunkering down in this super snowy, windy, and frigid weather.  we got up this morning to take our little pup, quint out for a walk, needless to say he wasn't happy.  we're not sure he's really into snow, as he runs away from us when we attempt to put his little black turtleneck sweater on, and when we try to squeeze his dainty feet into snow shoes he hates it even more.  it's become a 10-15 minute process, depending on if it's both me and frank or just one of us, all for a 2 minute "walk" consisting of quint trotting in circles and finding the nearest vertical object to relieve himself on.  we come back inside and the timid dog he was outside quickly disappears into a bold, playful pup zipping around the apartment, sometimes hopping on all fours, and poking us with his tiny snout encouraging us to play with him.  most times you can find frank on the floor with him playing as if he were a dog as well, and as i'm sure you can imagine, quint is always totally delighted by that.   we're constantly so amazed at how such a little guy can have such a tremendous personality - he's totally filled with life, and brings us so much love and light each day! this week, just under a year ago we picked him up at the shelter, all 7 3/4 pounds of him, so me and frank are reflecting a bit on how special he is, while also wondering what our lives were like before him :)

while quint isn't a fan of veggies (he actually eats around them), he is a big lover of apples - i often mash a couple slices up for him, which he loves to crunch on.  most meals i have to be careful of setting them at a height he can reach, but salads never worry me - i know he'd rather occupy his time doing other things like playing with his reflection or chasing his tail.  this carrot-centric salad is super simple, but also super tasty, with crushed fennel, sweet caramelized shallots, crunchy apple, and a respectable amount of blood orange juice to top.  it was inspired by a salad over at vinegar hill house, and it's one of those little dishes that continues to have flavor, texture and depth in each bite, while also being really simple to put together and enjoy. plus, it's a salad served on the warmer side of spectrum, for these chilly days when thinking of eating something cold is just a no-go. 

love + warmth, xo!

fennel-roasted carrot + shallot salad w/ shaved apple

this is the perfect salad to serve warm or at room temp.  also, feel free to use larger carrots as opposed to the baby ones indicated below, just make sure to adjust cook time if need be. and i could also imagine this dish benefitting from more crunch, perhaps roughly chopped hazelnuts or roasted pistachios

| serves 2 |

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 bunches organic baby carrots, scrubbed and sliced in half (or 1 bunch large carrots, sliced in half and then in quarters)
  • 2 small shallots (or 1 large), ends trimmed and sliced with half-inch thickness 
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
  • sea salt + fresh ground pepper
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, cored and shaved thin (using a mandolin or a sharp knife)
  • handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • juice from half of 1 blood orange
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, to top


  • preheat oven to 375°.  line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  set aside
  • heat a small pan over medium-low heat, add fennel seeds; shake pan back and forth a few times so they don't burn or stick.  toast seeds for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant and slightly brown.  remove from heat and place in a mortar; once cooled, grind with pestle.  set aside
  • in a large bowl, combine sliced carrots, shallots, crushed fennel, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. turn out onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.  set aside and let cool slightly
  • in a serving bowl, combine the roasted carrots and shallots with shaved apples, toss in the chopped parsley, drizzle with olive oil, blood orange juice, and toasted sesames; taste and adjust seasoning.  serve warm or at room temperature


(gluten + dairy free) chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse + coconut whip

as the second year mark approaches for this here blog's existence, i find myself (as i mentioned in my last post) thinking more and more about why i began writing and creating here in the first place.  originally, i began documenting gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, both to have for myself, but also for others seeking a similar way of life.  i loved creating recipes, going back to them, seeing what worked - what didn't - and importantly, what felt good.  there was, and sometimes still is, a lot of confusion for me when it comes to meals, eating, digestion, and i find myself back in the midst of self-discovery and evolution at the moment where i'm re-learning and/or un-learning certain behaviors and food practices.  each day is a more intentional look at food and what it means for my entire body to digest a meal or snack, how different kinds of food grouped together can actually confuse the stomach and cause fermentation, or the fact that our gut has its own nervous system! i'm taking it all in and fascinated by the interconnectedness of it all!  

well, it's hard to segue from digestion to cake, but i'm super excited about this cake here!  it's one of the more luscious cakes i've ever made, but it's also really balanced in the sweetness department.  i'm pretty sure this is the first cake i've ever eaten without getting a crazy sugar high/low from, and you would never know it because this chocolate baby doesn't lack in richness.  the cake recipe was adapted from sarah's, the chocolate cake, and while i just added an additional egg for binding purposes and swapped in some dairy-free items, i'm pretty sure this cake can proudly stand up to the original. oh, and that cacao macadamia mousse...oh baby! it's one of the more exciting kitchen revelations over here as of late, and i'm super pumped to share the recipe.  whether you eat the entire bowl with a spoon, or mound it between two chocolatey layers of cake, you can't go wrong!  the macadamias add their lovely flavor, but also a super creamy and velvety texture that i was more than excited about.  i finished off the cake with a naked-ish coconut whip frosting that added (as my husband pointed out) a cookies 'n cream kind of flavor to it all - total bonus!  so here's to celebration, self-discovery, being adventurous and curious, and to CAKE!

**last week i had the privilege of speaking with Celine from Pure Green Magazine on their podcast; we chatted about my beginnings and what led up to me starting dolly and oatmeal, food, photography, tips, and some extra special news for the future!  you can listen to it here.

chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse + coconut whip (gluten + dairy free) 

cacao macadamia mousse (vegan)

i love the taste and texture of the macadamia mousse here, but if you don't have them or don't want to purchase them, cashews will work just as well in their place.  as mentioned below, the mousse needs to refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight, so this is a great step to make the day before.

  • 3/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 ounces dairy free chocolate (about a heaping 1/4 cup), melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 

chocolate layer cake (gluten + dairy free) adapted from sarah

as sarah notes, the batter will quite thin, but not to worry, it will bake up just fine.  if you are making this cake for children, i would suggest replacing the 1 cup brewed coffee for 1 cup hot water.  as mentioned below, the cake layers benefit from a couple of hours of refrigeration before frosting it; they can also be refrigerated for a 2-3 days if you want to make them ahead of time.

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil (if using coconut oil make sure it is melted)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee 

coconut whip

the coconut whip will stay white for the first day, but will continue to blend with the chocolate, so if you are not planning to serve immediately, wait to frost with the whip until ready to serve.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight 
  • 2-3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pomegranate seeds for decoration

cacao macadamia mousse

  • drain nuts and place in blender (preferably high-speed) along with cacao powder, melted chocolate, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.  blend until smooth adding more milk (about 1 teaspoon at a time) if you have trouble getting everything moving.  add the coconut oil and blend again for a couple of minutes, until smooth and creamy.  chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.  remove from refrigerator 1 hour prior to use.

chocolate layer cake

  • preheat oven to 350°, grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  set aside
  • in a large bowl, whisk the 8 dry ingredients together until mixed (break up any almond flour or cacao powder clumps) and set aside.  in another large bowl, mix together the coconut milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla, until pale yellow.  mix the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined; gently stir in the hot coffee.  evenly divide batter between cake pans and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  transfer cakes to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes; turn out from pans and let cool completely; once cool wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

coconut whip

  • turn can upside and open from the bottom; carefully pour the coconut water from can (reserve for smoothies, etc.,) and scoop out the hard coconut cream from the bottom.  place in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat with an electric mixer until stiff and fluffy.  taste and adjust sweetness.  cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use

assemble cake

  • remove cake layers and coconut whip from refrigerator (mousse should be out and coming to room temp. already).  spread the mousse over top of one cake layer, about a 1/2-inch thick.  place remaining cake layer on top and spread the coconut whip over top and sides of cake using an offset spatula.  decorate with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately


turmeric-miso soup w/ shiitakes, turnips + soba noodles

life seems to be getting back into a more consistent rhythm and flow post-holiday season.  my early morning routine of yoga and a cup of tea have returned, easy breakfasts whipped together in a flash, weekday evenings where my me and my husband catch each other up on our days, and dinners that include more wholesomeness and less of the not-so-good stuff! i was especially careful over the holidays not to overdo it with the mentality of "it's the holidays, i can eat whatever i want!" but more of an intentional approach to meals and eating.  i spent a chunk of time removed from all things computer/phone, and instead plugged myself into time with family, leaving me super grounded. during that time, it got me thinking and reassessing what i'm doing here with this space.  i have always wanted to share recipes in the hope of inspiring people to get in the kitchen, perhaps eat less take-out, and be more mindful about what they put into their bodies.  so, i have resolved to make this more of a point going forward!

when gardenista asked me to develop an invigorating, post-holiday, one-pot meal, i gathered together some of my go-to healing ingredients and prepared this simple, nourishing meal.  i started with miso as the base of this soup because it's great way to boost your immune system, promote digestion, and give any soup an awesome umami flavor.  fresh turmeric was added for an anti-inflammatory purposes - perhaps to help repair a weak system after the consumption of too many holiday treats, along with 2 all-stars: shiitake mushrooms, and turnips for sweet, earthy flavors.  to round this dish out and make it more of a substantial meal, soba noodles were added as well, which offer their own lovely flavor.  my husband and i have been eating this soup for a quick meal, when we feel the onset of a cold, or for days when it's -9° and we need some warmth in our bodies!  and today, you can find the recipe over at the lovely gardenista!  

love, warmth + miso, everyone! xo 

spicy sweet potato chip + avocado sammie

hey all!  hope you all had a lovely new year's celebration, whether you hunkered down at home or partied the last of 2014 away.  frank and i enjoyed a quiet one at home, as he's been traveling throughout the holidays for work, and was setting off the next day for another trip.  while our last hours of 2014 were quiet and without 2015 hats or glasses, confetti, or champagne, we set out to make a special meal together including a mole sauce that's been our list to make since before we got married and this cake!  i've had a few recipes and half written grocery lists for months and months, but the one we decided to go with was kelsey's oaxacan black mole.  it took just about all day to make it, as there are a series of steps that included toasting, soaking, blending, reducing, and blending some more.  we had laughs and blunders, and mole that splattered on just about everything in our kitchen, but in the end we enjoyed some killer enchiladas (and enough leftover sauce to last us the year!).  so, thank you, kelsey!

the 1st of january often marks the day that people start new diets, resolve to lose weight, or exercise more, etc., etc.  but this year i'm trying to take the pressure off all of those green salads and smoothies, and offer a not-bad-for-you, baked sweet potato chip sandwich..?  there was a lunch spot near us that offered a sweet PLAT sandwich (sweet potato, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) that was kind of insane; and ever since it closed, and i saw this sandwich, i knew making some variation of it was in my near future.  and ever since making ashley's special sauce (from her new book!) over christmas break, i knew that needed to make an appearance in this sandwich as well.  so, if you're a fan of sweet potato fries, sandwiches, spicy sauce, avo, and some greens for good measure, then i've got you covered! here's to a happy 2015, all! xo

spicy sweet potato chip + avocado sammie (v + gf)

i like cutting these potato slices quite thin, as i prefer a crunchier sandwich.  however, if you prefer a softer chip, slice the potatoes to 1/4-inch thickness - you may have to adjust the cooking time as well.  

| makes 2 sandwiches |

  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced lengthwise to about 1/8-inch thickness
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • large grain sea salt + fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • micro greens, sprouts, small lettuce, etc.
  • 4 slices favorite gluten-free bread (or 2 rolls), toasted

spicy special sauce 

i slightly adapted ashley's recipe, and added sriracha for spice.  i also divided the recipe in half since the recipe is for 2 sandwiches.  (i actually wish i had made the full portion of sauce, and refrigerated the rest for another time!)

| adapted from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez|

  • 1 teaspoon good dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mayonaise or vegenaise
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup


spicy special sauce

  • whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at 1 hour or up to 1 week

sweet potato chips

  • preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  set aside
  • mix sliced sweet potatoes, oil, paprika, a couple pinches of salt, and a few grinds of pepper, until potatoes are evenly coated.  spread potatoes in a single layer, do not overlap or overcrowd.  bake for 15 minutes, then flip each potato over and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  at this point some potatoes might be crisp; if so, remove from baking sheet and transfer to a large platter or plate.  continue this process until potatoes are lightly browned and crisp.  let potatoes cool in a single layer. (placing them on top of one another while still hot will result in a soggy chip.)

assemble the sammie!

  • remove spicy sauce from fridge and spread a good amount on both sides of the bread.  add onion, avocado, chips, and micro greens, top with remaining slice of bread

chow down and enjoy!

winter buckwheat + shaved brussels sprout bowl

with hanukkah ending, christmas about to begin, and the new year approaching, i've been thinking more and more about where this year began and where it's ending, both personally and in the world.  it's been filled with happy and heavy life decisions, a crazy cute pup, career choices where my husband and i both clutched for each others hand in support, new opportunities, hope for the near future, weighing the attainable with the impossible.  peaceful wishes, and a hope for continued growth towards a more equal and just world.

i can't begin to describe how special this space right here is to me, to have a place to share my bits of life, particular recipes, blunders, photos, silly complaints, and most of all, getting to interact with so many warm and lovely hearts. two years ago, on christmas day, me and my husband (then fiancé) exchanged gifts.  he took our laptop, clicked a few buttons and showed me a wordpress page and blog post that read: "merry christmas baby!".  he had gifted me my very own blog, eek! the pressure to create something with that space kind of overwhelmed me for a couple of months, as i'm really kind of quiet, and can be awkwardly introverted.  so the thought of putting "pen" to internet scared the crap out of me (it still does, by the way!).  i really never thought that with that first post, i would be here, and participating in such a lovely blog-world!  so, special wishes to everyone for lots of joy, love and light! happy winter solstice, happy holidays, and happy new year! xo's

see you in 2015!!!

winter buckwheat + brussels sprout bowl (v + gf)

when cooked, buckwheat groats are almost like a small pasta both in consistency and taste; which is why it's great to pair in a salad with vegetables and a hearty dressing.  this salad almost reminds me of a summer pasta salad, but in the winter!  try using different produce if you don't have brussels and pomegranates on hand, it will be just as good! * just a note about the buckwheat; it should really only cook until it's just tender; cooking it longer results in somewhat of a gooey consistency (it should be tender with a bit of a bite, similar to al dente pasta), therefore, timing the buckwheat for 6 minutes, tasting every minute or so until done, is a good route to go. 

inspired by green kitchen stories

| serves 6 |

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • zest from half of one lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • couple handfuls brussels sprouts (roughly 6 ounces), trimmed and shaved using either a mandoline or knife
  • a bunch scallions, white and green parts sliced thin
  • pomegranate seeds, from half of a pomegranate
  • big handful of toasted chopped almonds


  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey/maple syrup
  • salt + fresh ground pepper to taste



  • whisk vinegar, mustard, and syrup (or honey) until combined.  in a steady stream, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified, season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  set aside.

buckwheat bowl

  • place buckwheat groats in a fine mesh sieve, and rinse under cool water.  bring the 2 cups of water and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil, gently transfer rinsed buckwheat to pot; turn heat down and bring water to a simmer, cook for 7-10 minutes.  remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes
  • transfer buckwheat to a large serving bowl, add chopped parsley, lemon zest and a few turns of fresh ground pepper.  add the shaved brussels sprouts, scallions, pomegranate seeds, and chopped almonds, and give it all a good toss
  • drizzle the dressing over top and toss once more.  taste and adjust seasoning if needed

serve and enjoy!