Berbere Chickpeas and Chard

Berbere Chickpeas and Chard with Farro | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

The first time I picked chard at the CSA, I was enamored with the beautiful color and the large, tender leaves. I had, up until that point, never encountered the greens. I researched, cooked, and fell in love with chard but over the years, I’ve found I don’t use it nearly as often. This year I planted two containers of chard. I’m hoping to have more of this beautiful chard in my life, hopefully in dishes like these Berbere chickpeas.

I typically like making my own spice blends but I also keep a select few pre-blended mixes on hand for quick meals. This Ethiopian Berbere blend relies on chilis, paprika, and a handful of warming spices- a perfect compliment to greens and beans. What I like about Frontier’s blend is that there’s still a kick but it’s not as spicy as other blends (or homemade versions) I’ve had before. Of course, start out with a smaller amount and gradually add more seasoning to suit your taste (and spice-level comfort!)

Read more and see the recipe.

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8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

This post is all about putting your waffle iron to use. We have a really great waffle maker, and I use it regularly, but pretty much only for my favorite waffles. It’s the most egregious example of a single use appliance. So! I was chatting with a friend the other morning about the clever menu at The Riddler. It’s a chic, little Champagne bar on a sunny corner in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. They don’t have a traditional kitchen, but they do work wonders with a waffle iron and hot plate (w/ a glass of bubbles in hand). They make a now-famous Tater Tot Waffle, which got me thinking about all the other ways to use a waffle maker. Apparently I’m quite late to this party, because there are already tons of brilliant ideas out there. I’ve included a few that caught my attention here. Lastly, it seems like the trend is a lot of junk food meets waffle maker, so I tried to focus on more healthful (and savory) ideas! Let me know (in the comments) if you make anything clever in yours 🙂 -h

1. Waffle Frittata with Tzatziki (supergoldenbakes)
Making frittatas in your waffle maker is a thing. And, there are a lot of examples out there. That said, this is the one that caught my attention. Lots of herbs, cooked potatoes, chopped spinach – look at the color! Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

2. Pizza Waffles (Jeff Garroway / Bijoux & Bits)
I came across this incredible photo (below) by Jeff Garroway. It’s a decadent tower of crispy crusted, herb-flecked, cheesy pizza waffles. In the comments Jeff notes that he used the recipe from Bijou & Bites. I appreciate the idea that, like regular pizza, you can incorporate all sorts of seasonal sauces and ingredients, and keep the technique consistent. Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

3. Leftover Stuffing Waffles (Just a Taste)
So, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and everyone ends up with extra stuffing. Here’s what happens when you put stuffing in your waffle maker. Use veg-broth / stuffing to keep them vegetarian. I’m thinking you also might be able to get away with a vegan version using flax eggs & vegan stuffing? Worth a try! Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

4. Crispy Sesame Waffled Kale(KCRW Good Food)
Featured on the KCRW Good Food site, kale chips. But the twist here is, guess what? They’re made in your waffle iron. Faster than doing an entire batch in the oven. Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

5. Waffled Polenta(Julie’s Jazz)
We’ve talked before about what to do with those tubes of polenta nearly everyone has in their pantry. I came up with this Lentil Polenta Casserole, but these Waffled Polentas blow that idea out of the water! Imagine all the different toppings you can deploy. Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

6. Leftover Mashed Potato Waffles(Just a Taste)
Love this idea! I’d likely scale way back on the cheese, and use leftover mashed sweet potatoes for the added nutrition boost. Of course there are a thousand ways you could play around with the seasonings, and stir-ins as well! Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

7. Kimchi Fried Rice Waffles(Miss Hangry Pants)
I often have left-over cooked rice & grains on hand. Check out this kimchi fried rice waffle. Such a smart idea, and would make a great component in a quick lunch. Get the recipe here.

8 Things You Should be Making in your Waffle Iron

8. Sarah Fit Healthy Waffle Iron Recipes (video)
Sarah talks through all the different ways she uses her $10 lil waffle iron. Some super fun ideas here – apple chips!?!

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These Incredible Italian Grandmas Teach you to Make Pasta from Scratch

Pasta videos are one of my favorite things on the internet. To be specific, the making and shaping of pasta using traditional ingredients and methods. There are all sorts of videos out there, and pasta enthusiasts on all the different platforms, but I love watching Italian grandmas (nonnas) the most. I’m going to highlight a handful of favorite pasta videos here, and let these Italian grandmas show us how it’s done.

I also want to mention a channel on You Tube, Pasta Grannies, because it’s an absolute treasure trove of pasta videos by Vicki Bennison. I’ve embedded a few favorites episodes down below, definitely poke around the archives as well. There’s also some great inspiration at #pastamaking, and Miyuki Adachi is one of my all-time favorite Instagram accounts. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorites in this vein as well, I’m always adding to my list!

1. Pici
Pici(!!!) Pici is my first pasta love, and my favorite pasta to shape by hand. You roll out long spaghetti-shaped noodles across a countertop, and because you’re doing it by hand the shape is beautifully irregular and rustic. I thought my pici game was respectable until I came across this Tuscan grandma. Around the :50 second mark of this video, she shows us who’s boss.

2. Trofie
Trofie is the most recent shape I’ve tried to master. To make these tiny coils, some people wrap the pasta dough around a thin needle or umbrella spoke. I don’t have the patience for that (I’m so slow), and always resort to something more like this. Look at her outside-the-palm technique!

3. Fusilli Ricci
Proof that making fresh pasta keeps you strong! A beautiful portrait of nonna Maria at 86 years old making fusilli ricci.

4. Tagliatelle
Nonna Elena makes beautiful tagliatelle here, and make you think you can ditch your pasta machine for a pasta board and mattarello rolling pin. If you watch carefully, you get a sneak peek into her refrigerator too :).

5. Orecchiette
I visited Puglia years ago, and could watch the ladies make traditional orecchiette (little ears) for hours. In this video we see an orecchiette master at work, but don’t look away, because at the 2:00 minute mark, she goes big.

6. Cavatelli
The shaping of the cavatelli kicks in around the 2:00 minute mark here. I remember meeting some of these ladies when I travelled to Puglia years ago.

7. Sicilian Maccheroni
One more from the Pasta Grannies series. Filmed in Menfi, Sicily, I love this video for a hundred reasons. Watch Damiana and Gaetano make an incredible fava bean pasta lunch. Her knife skills are the best, the fresh from the garden favas(!), the sunny patio(!), Damiana’s fruit and berry tablecloth!

8. Miyuki Adachi
Not a nonna, but I suspect you’ll love Miyuki nonetheless. I found her on Instagram, and love watching her video shorts and pasta shaping demonstrations from Toronto. This is a video of some of what you’ll find her working on. As you can see, her trofie game is quite strong as well! (Follow Miyuki)

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Sweet Corn Couscous Salad with Arugula

Sweet Corn Couscous Salad with Arugula | Naturally Ella

After a few months of hot weather, it’s just now beginning to feel like fall in the valley. Leaves are starting to drop and I just opened our windows for the first time. And yet, I’m still making summer recipes. Summer always feels a bit longer in California but I’m okay with that. I’m not ready to see tomatoes leave the market quite yet.

If you still happen to have sweet corn, this couscous salad is for you. The sweet corn is left raw which highlights the sweet, delicious flavor. The sweet corn mixture is actually a component and is wonderful serve on grain bowls, added as a taco topping, or used in a quesadilla. If raw sweet corn isn’t your style, saute the sweet corn kernels in a bit of oil then toss with the scallion cilantro mixture once slightly cooled!

Read more and see the recipe.

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A Spicy, Boosted Nut Butter

Around here we call this fire butter, but that’s probably being overly dramatic. It’s an invigorating mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper blended with walnuts and vanilla extract into a homemade walnut butter. If I have maca powder or mesquite flour on hand, I add those too. This became a fast and feisty house favorite, and a way to boost an everyday favorite nutritionally with a host of spices. When you blend your own nut butters, it’s hard to resist adding things! This version is perfect spread on toast, dabbed on banana coins or apple wedges, or thinned out into a spring roll dipping sauce.

A Spicy Boosted Nut Butter Recipe

I like to use walnuts here, but feel free to use almonds, or a blend of walnuts with another favorite nut. The texture is nice, and I haven’t had a problem with separation.

A Spicy Boosted Nut Butter Recipe

One last note, I don’t salt this, although it definitely needs a bit of salt. I wait until I spread it across something, and then sprinkle a bit of salt at that point, and it seems to be plenty.

A Spicy Boosted Nut Butter Recipe

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Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

I believe in the power of a tidy, happy refrigerator – even if I don’t always succeed. And those of you who follow me on Instagram know I like to take a few minutes to freshen up my refrigerator each weekend. I’m working on a more detailed post about my favorite fridge storage strategies, best containers, produce preservation tips, and the like, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the refrigerators I’ve come across and taken note of. These are refrigerators on their #fridgegoals A-game. Masters of refrigerator organization (or simply deploying a super clever tactic or two).

Before we start, there are a few best practices I’ve come to embrace. The aforementioned weekly tidy is key. I typically do mine on Saturday after getting home from the farmers’ market. Wash and prep as many of your ingredients as possible at this time, and you’ll thank yourself later. It might sound strange, but I think of this exercise as merchandising my refrigerator. And when you do it, far less goes to waste, and you’ll feel more energized about cooking throughout the rest of the week.

I also want to note, this post is focused on refrigerators. Freezers are another thing altogether. I’m still trying to get a handle on mine, and haven’t quite been able to nail down a great system, it always turns into a dumping ground. More to come on that front, in the meantime, hopefully there is something here that will inspire!


1. My Refrigerator

This is where I’m at – a work in progress, but I have a few set-in-stone strategies. First, like I mentioned up above, try to tidy it once a week. Second, store things in clear containers, preferably glass. That way you can see everything you have at a glance. I love our counter depth refrigerator, because it doesn’t allow things to hide in the far back corners. Everything is up front and in your face. I want to get a wine bottle insert (mentioned below), and love anything stackable, like the Weck jars, which come in a range of sizes. These containers have been great, these (w/ compartments) are great for lunches on the go, and keeping things separate. I post refrigerators shots here now & then.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

2. Kristen’s Eat to Live Fridge(Hello Nutritarian)
Woah. I’m not sure I’ve seen a stronger fridge game. Look at all the color here! And the prep! And when you get past that, look at the storage strategy. A lot of super smart suggestions on all fronts here. More shots from Kristen.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

3. The Home Edit’s Updatable Labeling
Labelling is key, especially in the freezer, or for anything that isn’t going to get used in a few days. Until now, I’ve always used washi paper tape to label jars and baggies, but I’m loving Clea and Joanna’s chalk marker strategy as well. Super clever, and easily helps your family put things where they’re supposed to go. More details here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

4. How to Stock Your Fridge (& Cook) Like an Adult(Refinery 29)
A nice snapshot of three culinary pros – Karen Mordechai, Lauren Godfrey, and Barrett Prendergrast. You can see some clever strategies in the photos – bowls for produce, wrapping greens, the catch-all nut drawer, etc. See the profiles here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

5. Beyond Meal-prep & CIY meals(Coveteur)
I thought this portrait of Samantha Wasser’s refrigerator was interesting because it shows how things might come together if you’re more likely to buy your meals vs. cook them. There are a lot of people who don’t cook much, and I thought this seemed like a better option than ordering lots of take-out. Lunch, dinner, breakfasts, and lots of drinks for a few days at least.
More photos of Samantha’s kitchen here, and check out Sarah Britton’s kitchen / fridge while you’re there.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

6. Jen’s Counter Depth Fridge & Freezer Strategy(I Heart Organizing)
I love Jen’s use of those little mini-bins, and the can holder. Super clever. And her detailed freezer drawer write-up makes me feel like there might be hope for mine. Some great ideas, aprticularly for anyone with a counter depth, French door, and freezer drawer configuration. Mini-bins on order 😉 More details here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

7. Lots of Jars & Baskets(The Intentional Minimalist)
This is one of the few examples I could find with clever use of natural fiber baskets. I like how Kristin has used them here, and look at her smart use of large jars for greens. More tips from Kristin here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

8. Merchandise Your Healthy Drinks – (Brit + Co)
I’m a big fan of this strategy (as you can see in the opening photo). Storing hydrating, healthy beverages in glass containers and carafes is a sleek, beautiful way to showcase drinks. I also like the vote for clear containers here. There are a lot of fridge organization articles that highlight opaque containers, making the contents hard to see, and easy to forget about. Get the recipe here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eatings

9. Wine & Tall Bottle Inserts – (The Container Store) I find myself short on space for tall items like wine bottles and sparkling water. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me to add some bottle inserts, but this post got me thinking. More photos here.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

10. Wide Open – What European Chef’s Keep in their Refrigerators – (Bon Appétit) In case you weren’t sure how a chef can differ from a home cook, their refrigerators lend some fascinating insights. Bon Appétit highlights Inside Chefs’ Fridges, Europe, a book by Adrian Moore and Carrie Solomon. Read the article & browse the pics.

Ten Refrigerators that Inspire Healthy Eating

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Mediterranean Vegetarian Mini Casseroles

Who is ready for these Mediterranean Vegetarian Mini Casseroles? September has arrived, which means it’s back to school season for all you kiddos in school. We teamed up with Abbey from Abbey’s Kitchen, to bring you some back to school recipes this week! For those of you not familiar with Abbey, you can learn more […]

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Visit a Pear Farm (+ Farro Pear Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing)

Bosc Pear Harvest | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by California Pear Advisory Board. See below for more details.

One of the greatest disconnects in food today is that of where our food comes from. Sure, it’s becoming more prominent to know your farmers thanks to CSAs and Farmers’ markets but what about the produce you buy at your local grocery store? A sizable amount is coming from California and usually has a good family story behind it. Pears are the perfect example. There are currently around 60 multigenerational family farms growing pears in Northern California.

The Delta is one of my favorite spots within 30 minutes of Sacramento. Once you get past city limits, you end up surrounded by vineyards and orchards. A place that almost feels a bit frozen in time but is amazingly alive with fresh produce (and some good wineries). I had the opportunity to tour one of the family farms/packing plants in the Delta region, seeing exactly where all those California pears are grown and harvested.

Read more and see the recipe.

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