All posts by Mervin

Favorites List (08.17.18)

It has been a while since I’ve done a favorites list. Let’s remedy the situation!

10 years / $430,000 in micro loans! (Nearly 80% to women :)!

This pasta: Been making a version of it on the regular, pictured below with added toasted cashews, broccolini, lemon zest. (recipe)
Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
This playlist (if you watch my Insta Stories, you’ll recognize)

Mandy Moore’s kitchen (….love, love the whole Harold Zook restoration – Emily Farnham x Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
These scones: Spotted this @pickled_rose photo (below) of the Whole Wheat Blackberry Ricotta Scones from deep in the 101 archives. (recipe)Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta

These sandals all summer
– Watching this: Sharp ObjectsToiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
Matcha on the move
– Leaves & Flowers Ajna Tea

Farmers Market Summer Blossoms

Continue reading Favorites List (08.17.18) on 101 Cookbooks

Simple French-Style Potato Salad

Simple French-Style Potato Salad

This simple potato salad is inspired by one we tried while in Austin. The potato salads I’m used to having are typically dressed with a mayo sauce, making them thicker and more indulgent. But I loved the tangy, light quality of a potato salad dressed in an herb-infused vinaigrette instead.

I later discovered that this is more of a French style of preparing potato salad. I hope you enjoy this inspired version that’s perfect for summer BBQs, lazy picnics, road trips, and more.

Simple French-Style Potato Salad from Minimalist Baker →

5 Tips for Vegetarian Lunches

Arugula Salad with Romesco Potatoes | Naturally Ella

(Hey Everyone! I want you to give a warm welcome to Grace Kerfoot. Grace has studied nutrition and most recently was working as a cheesemonger. She’s also been helping me in the studio and I’m so happy to have her contributing a few posts in the coming months. I think it’s always great to have some fresh perspective- helps us get out of ruts! So without further story, here’s Grace!)

When I remember to pack a lunch, I feel so much more on my game. Instead of scavenging for lunch in the city or at work when noon arrives, the ease of just pulling my own lunch from the fridge or my bag is somehow empowering – a reward for a minimal amount of prep and planning.

Packing a lunch does not have to mean a square zip-locked sandwich in a crinkled paper bag. What’s even more rewarding is when the packed lunch is something wholesome and good – it’s worth looking forward too.

The simplest things can elevate lunch from ‘getting the job done’ to great. These are my five staples for lunch hacking that make lunch packing not only more delicious but more enjoyable.

1. Good Salt

I carry around a little container of sel gris with me to work. It adds a salt boost and a hefty crunch for toasts or soft boiled eggs. If the lunch you brought tastes like it could be just a little bit better it probably just needs a little more salt.

2. Cheese

I use cheese like a condiment. A little dab of it here or there can change everything. Not to mention, I so look forward to everything more if there is cheese involved. Fresh chevre sprinkled on a simple salad adds texture and tang, a few ribbons of shaved pecorino or ricotta salata add appealing color and brightness to grain bowls or any massaged kale salad.

3. Good quality olive oil

Few eating experiences are worse than an underdressed salad or a dry bowl of grains. Having olive oil handy, even if it’s a bottle tucked in the back of your desk drawer can be a lunch game changer.

4. Pickled Things

Fermented foods literally breath life into packed lunches. Sauerkraut in a salad, pickled carrots in a sandwich, a spoonful of miso stirred into brown rice – get creative with whatever picked things you may have in your refrigerator and you’ll probably never have a dull lunch.


While this isn’t a condiment, I love using BEES WRAP and mason jars to pack my lunches – I use less plastic and makes for a more visually appealing lunch. Pictured: these metal containers.

Bees Wrap
Made from organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin – bees wrap is perfect for wrapping just about anything. I use it for packing up a sandwich or half an avocado, or using it as a loose lid on tupperware when all the other lids go missing.

The king of alternative tupperware, mason jars hold everything – and are easy to slid into a bag or the cupholder of your car. Fill a 16oz jar with soup and bring an 8oz jar full of fun toppings. They also work for salads. Just layer your grains, proteins, veggies, add dressing when you’re ready to eat – give it a shake and eat.


Curious where to start with exactly what to pack for lunch? Here are some recipes to get started on that hold up well being jostled to and from wherever your lunch destination may be.

Carrot Rice Noodle Bowl with Tahini-Sriracha Sauce | @naturallyella
Cucumber-Feta Quinoa Salad
Chickpea Shawarma Stuffed Pita
Overhead Shot of Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto

continue reading

The post 5 Tips for Vegetarian Lunches appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Blue Cheese Peach Pizza with Honey

Overhead shot of Blue Cheese Peach Pizza with Honey

This recipe is in partnership with Nugget Markets. See below for more details.

There are combinations that might feel a bit over-done but I will always (and gladly) eat. One of those combinations: blue cheese and peaches. Fresh, sweet peaches paired with the earthy flavor of blue cheese is everything I could want in one bite. Add it to pizza and drizzle it with honey; I’ll probably eat the whole thing.

For this peach pizza, I was lucky enough to source some amazing local honey, c/o Nugget Markets. Nugget’s Fresh to Market brand sources from many local companies and their honey comes from Pure Honey based in Winters, CA. I took a drive out to visit and left with even more of an appreciation for the honey (and the bees).

The honey Nugget sources is raw honey which means all the good stuff is left in the honey. One note, which came directly from Doneice of Pure honey: Crystallization is a natural part of raw honey and the easiest way to get the honey soft: set it outside on a warm day.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Blue Cheese Peach Pizza with Honey appeared first on Naturally Ella.

4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix

4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix

When golden milk cravings strike, there’s hardly time to fuss with getting out all the spices, which is why I recently made my own “mix.”

Because I enjoy golden milk most afternoons, I’ve been using my mix almost daily! It’s the perfection solution to help speed the golden milk process along to save time and energy. Let me show you how.

This 4-ingredient, 5-minute mix is made of the 4 basic spices added to most golden milk: turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger.

4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix from Minimalist Baker →

Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component

Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component

When it comes to textures, I’m all about the crunch. This is why I gravitate towards chips, crackers, and granola. This sunflower crunch is a mix between toasted nuts and granola. It’s simple on ingredients but the end result is a multi-use mix that adds the perfect crunch to soups, salads, and yogurt bowls.

One of the things I love about this mixture: it doesn’t compete with grains. It can help add a boost to your morning oatmeal or lunch grain bowl without competing with the grains (like a traditional granola would). Be sure to check out the variations. There are many different directions you can go with this simple component recipe.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Fried Egg and Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

Sweet Corn Polenta with Fried Egg and Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

There are a few summer staples that happen every year. Roasted tomato salsa, grilled zucchini, and this fresh polenta. Traditionally, polenta is made from dried/stone-ground corn. This version relies on using fresh summer sweet corn. The texture is different but the flavor of the polenta is all summer warmth.

I usually make the polenta base the same and it’s rare that I add cheese (but that is an option). The toppings, however, are anything goes. I like to pile high the summer vegetables and flavors. This sweet corn polenta version features one of my favorite toppings: fried eggs.

The fried eggs in this recipe are my favorite: Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. It’s been such a treat to work with them on a few recipes. As I’ve mentioned before, we use eggs so often in our house whether it’s for a simple breakfast scramble or egg salad for lunch. I know these eggs come from a company that works with small, family farms and cares about the environment.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Sweet Corn Polenta with Fried Egg and Sun-Dried Tomato Relish appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies (Gluten-Free + Grain-Free)

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies (Gluten-Free + Grain-Free)

Friends! They’re here! My new cookie crush.

Imagine this: a perfectly baked, tender cookie studded with dark chocolate (or dried fruit!) that’s naturally sweetened, vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free! Plus, it’s made with 10 wholesome ingredients you probably have on hand right now. Let’s bake!

The base of this cookie is inspired and adapted from my Best Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies (Gluten-Free + Grain-Free) from Minimalist Baker →

Penne with Spinach Sauce & Watermelon


Hi friends, hope you’ve had a great summer. We took a little break from blogging as we have been in Copenhagen and Barcelona. But we are back now with a great little dinner recipe. It’s a version of something we have been eating all summer. As it has been record-breaking hot in Europe, pairing lukewarm buckwheat penne with juicy and crunchy watermelon has been feeling so right so often. Satisfying, simple and soothing. Our kids love this buckwheat penne so that also plays a part why it’s been on repeat. In fact, our little Noah (soon two years old!) starts crying if we serve him spaghetti or any other pasta: “Noooooh, [I want] my pasta“.

In this version we are dressing (almost drenching) the pasta in a herby spinach, herb and almond milk sauce that is inspired by something we saw in Deliciously Ella’s feed a while back. We then stir in the chickpeas and top everything with watermelon, feta cheese, almonds and heirloom tomatoes. It’s a pretty awesome dinner that can come together in 15 minutes if you are quick with the knife and good at multitasking.


There are plenty of ways to spin this.
• If you cannot find buckwheat penne you can of course use regular or whole wheat penne.
• Vegans can just skip the cheese (and perhaps add in a little nutritional yeast for extra flavour).
• Fresh or roasted corn could be a great addition when they are in season.
• You can swap basil and mint for cilantro and parsley for a more Middle Eastern take.
• If you are allergic to nuts, use oat milk or regular milk and swap the almonds for toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
• For a wintery version of this, you can add in roasted broccoli and pomegranate seeds instead of watermelon.


Buckwheat Penne with Creamy Spinach Sauce & Watermelon
Serves 4

Buckwheat pasta penne for 4 persons (approx 400 g /14 oz)

Creamy Spinach Sauce
1 onion

2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
125 g / 3 packed cups fresh spinach
400 ml / 1 1/2  cups almond milk
a good handful each of fresh basil and mint
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1 small lemon, juice
a large pinch sea salt & pepper

To Serve
1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin cooked chickpeas
1/2 watermelon
1 avocado
10 heirloom cherry tomatoes
15 toasted almonds
10 fresh mint
100 g feta cheese

Boil salted water in a large saucepan, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic on medium high heat until translucent and light brown. Then lower the heat, add spinach and let it wilt down, pour in almond milk and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, take it off the heat and use a stick (immersion) blender to mix it smooth. Taste to check that the flavours are balanced. You can add more lemon juice, herbs, salt or maple syrup if you prefer.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water in a sieve, give it a quick rinse and transfer the pasta back to the saucepan along with a splash of olive oil. Pour the spinach sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Drain the chickpeas and cut the avocado into cubes and add them to the creamy pasta. Cut the watermelon into cubes, divide the tomatoes in halves, chop almonds and mint and crumble the feta cheese. Arrange all those ingredients on top of the creamy pasta penne. Serve and dive in!

Blueberry Chia Jam with Yogurt and Sunflower Crunch

Overhead shot yogurt topped with blueberry jam and granola with cups of coffee and a pink linen.

One of my favorite coffee shops in town serves two hot food items: waffles and yogurt bowls. If I had my way, I’d eat both, everyday. The waffles are perfect and they make a homemade jam for topping which they also use on their yogurt bowls. Since it’s not cost-effective for me to eat there every morning, I decided to come up with a quick breakfast that incorporated the same idea of jam + yogurt.

I know chia jam is one of those things that might feel silly but it’s kind of amazing. It comes together quick and the chia seeds make for the perfect texture. The blueberry chia jam is also perfect for all that summer fruit you might have on hand (including stone fruit). Add to that my favorite sunflower crunch that is like granola but just seeds: it’s a meal.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Blueberry Chia Jam with Yogurt and Sunflower Crunch appeared first on Naturally Ella.