My Friend Elle



My friend Elle: She was a beautiful soul – hilariously funny, witty as hell, spunky, kind and giving. She was an amazing cook, known for her creative and tasty ice cream experiments. She was part of our food blogging community and I was lucky to call her a friend since she started her blog in 2008. Elle was so easy to become friends with, she was so supportive and seemed to have more energy than anyone raising 4 children, cats and cute corgis, not to mention spending time with her loving husband, Bill, should have time for. But she did. She made time to make you feel special and remembered.

Well, Elle, I will remember you. I will remember your delicious entries in the Royal Foodie Joust and I will remember all the nice things you said about the competition. I will remember your beautiful jewelry and wish I had bought a piece from you sooner rather than later. A missed opportunity. I wanted to commission you for a special piece. I will remember your support for my blog, my life and The Foodie Blogroll – you were always sending us emails telling us what a good job we were doing, just when I needed it most. You were even one of our spokes-people. We even have your quote on our website:

“I’m thrilled to have gotten in on The Foodie Blogroll Publisher Program so I can be a part of it as it grows! Jenn (the founder) has been a blogger herself for years, so she knows what we want and expect in an ad network. I know she and her team truly care about the bloggers in the program. With very competitive rates and no crazy restrictions, you can’t lose. Above all, I know I’m working with people I know and respect.”

I will remember all the funny conversations we had on facebook and all of the sweet comments you left about Alba. This one being the most recent:

“Awww! Is it just me, or is she very tall?…She’s the sweetest little thing. I also love her booties :)  And lucky her for being tall.”

I will miss you my friend. It hurts to think I can never talk to you, or vent with you or hear your funny stories and read your statuses on facebook and twitter, or see more of your delicious creations on your blog. Halloween will be especially hard next year, as I know how much you relished the holiday.

I hope you knew how much you were loved and by so many while you were alive! All the outpouring of love across the globe for you these past few days is a testament to you and the mark you made in this world and the impact you had on so many lives just by being YOU. You are a star and will be forever remembered.

Duck Schnitzel with Rødkål and Mustard Potatoes (gluten free)



Making gluten-free duck schnitzel is simple, but it is such a treat! Recently I was the happy recipient of some wild duck and goose breasts. My friend’s son is a prolific hunter and needed someone to give some meat to, so I was happy to oblige.

I made sure to pound the duck breasts so they were very thin and decided to serve it with traditional cabbage and potato accompaniments. Rødkål is a sweet and sour cabbage dish from Denmark and I did my own version of a hot German potato salad using hot potatoes and adding some mustard for an extra lift of flavor. Both vegetables went perfectly with the schnitzel and it was one of the best dinners I had cooked in a while. The best part was how quick and easy the dishes were to make!

Next time you have some duck breasts, give this a try or if you can’t easily come by duck breasts, try the classic Weiner Schnitzel which uses pounded veal cutlets, pork is also good.

Duck Breast Schnitzel


4 duck breasts pounded thin
2 large eggs, scrambled
3/4  cup of gluten-free bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 TBS good quality butter
Lemon wedges

METHOD: Pound the duck breasts out nice and thin. Scramble an egg in a shallow bowl and in another shallow bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the salt and spices. Place a skillet on the burner on medium-high heat and melt the butter.

Dip each duck breast first into the egg and then coat it well with the spiced breadcrumbs. Then place both duck breasts into the melted butter and cook on each side until the coating is browned and crisp – about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with lemon wedges.



3 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
1 small onion thinly sliced
2 TBS good butter
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
¼ cup of lingonberry or red currant jam
salt & pepper
1 ½ tsp Beau Monde- allspice, bay, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, black and white pepper
½ cup water

METHOD: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add the cabbage and onion and some salt and sweat the cabbage and onions. When they begin to soften mix in the vinegar, jam, spices and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer with a lid on for about 40 minutes; add more water if it is getting dry.

Mustard Potatoes


5 medium sized yellow potatoes, boiled al dente and roughly chopped.
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ cup Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes and set aside. In a skillet sauté the bacon, onion and garlic. Roughly chop potaotes and place in a baking dish. Add the bacon mixture, apple cider vinegar, thyme and mustard. Stir to thoroughly coat the potatoes, then bake for about 20 minutes.

Post Partum Freezer Meals: Russian Borscht



I loooove borscht. The first time I ever made it I was over run with beets from my CSA. This was in college and we had an agriculture program there and if you lived on campus (or off) your could buy a CSA share. This was the first time I had ever heard of a CSA by the way and I thought it was very cool and it taught me to cook lots of different kinds of produce I wasn’t used to.

So I was in my on campus apartment making dinner for my housemates. Everything in the kitchen was red, including my hands and my shirt. I loved the experience. Ever since then, I have been hooked. In fact during my pregnancy I had a dream while napping of eating borscht, so my husband made it for me. Since I love it so much, I figured it would be a perfect addition to my postpartum menu. I used beets that we had grown in our garden the year before that were roasted and then frozen. Definitely handy for a borscht lover.

This soup is restorative, comforting and deeply nourishing. Since I am such a borscht fanatic, I asked my friend and fellow blogger Sofya, who blogs at A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter for her recipe. She is from Azerbaijan and that being a former Soviet republic, I figured she would have a truly authentic recipe. Her recipe begins with making homemade beef bone broth which is the base of the soup. This is truly delicious comfort food.

This borscht is the best! In fact I am eating some right now. Today I served it over mashed potatoes with some fresh sauerkraut on top. In my version I was lazy and I cubed all my veggies instead of grating them. But I guess you can’t blame me for taking a short cut, I was 9 months pregnant when I made it! I hope you make some and enjoy it during the cold, cold days of winter.

Russian Borscht Recipe by Sofya Hunt

Makes approximately 7 to 8 quarts


For the stock:

2 roasts, such as chuck or arm, 2 to 3 lbs each, or 4 to 6 lbs soup bones (or some combination of both)
2 gallons cold water
1 whole turnip, unpeeled
1 whole large onion, peeled and studded with 10-12 cloves
2 large carrots, unpeeled
1/2 celeriac, peeled
2 large bay leaves
10 dried allspice berries

For the soup:

12 medium beets
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded (do not use the core)
2 small to medium unpeeled turnips, grated
2 medium to large unpeeled parsnips, grated
4-6 unpeeled carrots, grated
1/2 celeriac, peeled and grated
2 large onions, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed
3 sticks of butter, for sauteing the vegetables
2/3 to 1 whole 8-oz can tomato paste
meat reserved from making the stock, cubed
1 whole head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
organic beef base, or an equivalent
additional water or stock, as needed
lemon juice, to taste
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 bunch parsley, chopped
sour cream and extra parsley, for serving

The Stock

Place meat and vegetables in cold water and bring to a simmer. Skim off the scum that will rise to the top just before the simmering point. Once the stock is simmering, add bay leaf and allspice. Cover partially and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and the liquid had been reduced by at least half. Let cool and strain, reserving the meat and discarding the vegetables and spices. Note that I don’t degrease my stock, but if you’d like to do it, chill it in the fridge overnight and use a slotted spoon to remove solidified fat from the surface in the morning.

The Soup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap the beets tightly in foil and pierce the packages (the foil and the beets) with a fork in several places to allow some of the steam to escape, thus preventing them from exploding in your oven. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until a knife can be slid easily in and out. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and unwrap. To peel them easily, hold each beet under warm running water while rubbing it with your hands – the skins will slip right off. Grate cooled beets and set aside.

Melt butter in a large stainless steel saute pan or a dutch oven (don’t be taken aback by the amount of butter – it will all be absorbed by the veggies before you know it). When the butter begins to foam, add grated parsnips, turnips, carrots, celeriac, and chopped onion and saute until the onions are translucent and the root vegetables begin to soften. Reduce the heat to low and stir in tomato paste. Set aside.

Bring strained stock to a boil and add the cabbage and the cubed potatoes. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sauteed root vegetables and 3/4 of grated beets (we’ll be adding the rest towards the end for additional color boost). Continue simmering gently, partially covered, for 40 minutes. If your soup appears too thick at this point, feel free to add more water or extra stock until the consistency is right. If using homemade stock, add beef base (do not add extra salt until you are done adding beef base as it tends to be very salty on its own). Stir in the remaining beets, cubed meat, minced garlic, pepper, lemon juice, and more salt if needed (the exact amount of lemon juice will depend on your taste, but the goal is to strike a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity so your borscht is neither too sour, nor too sweet). Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the beets are no longer dark-red and the garlic has mellowed out. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.

Let cool and refrigerate overnight before serving the next day.

A Tribute to Lis, the Queen of the Daring Kitchen



It is with deep sorrow that I write this post. The food blogging community has lost one of its brightest members, Lis, Co-Founder of the Daring Kitchen, Daring Bakers and author of the blog La Mia Cucina. Lis was a true leader in the blogging world, kind, funny and always ready to help a budding blogger. In fact she was one of my food blogging idols when I just started out and when I got the email that I had been accepted into the Daring Bakers, I felt like I had received a letter from a celebrity, I was star-struck. Lis always had a kind word, encouragement or a witty remark for anyone. It seems so wrong that such a person can be snuffed from this world so suddenly and so before her time. Lis, you will be missed.

I am not a Daring Baker anymore, once I started The Foodie Blogroll, my time was turned more towards developing that community that I didn’t have much time for my blog anymore, let alone the Daring Bakers project. No one understood that better than Lis, and when I told her about my new venture, she was so encouraging and helpful, instead of seeing me as competition. That is how things used to be in the blogosphere. But I digress.

So today I want to share with you some of my favorite DB challenges. I was never very good at baking, but my time with the DBs changed that! I met a lot of bloggers who I am still very close with today from that group and I lost my fear of baking. In fact, when I spend time in the kitchen these days (which is not usually for long periods of time as a new mother), I bake and that is thanks to the DBs and Lis.

By way of tribute, I would like to share with you my favorite DB challenges! None of them are gluten free, but they were fun! :) I hope you enjoy reading them, they are actually some of my funniest posts – seems perfect since Lis was such a funny and witty person.

Chocolate Valentino Cake (this one is actually GF!) that I made with my dear friend Judy


Hazelnut Gateau with Pistachio Praline

Lavender and Honey Danish

Coconut and Dulce de Leche Opera Cake – my very favorite and most delicious DB challenge!

Yule Log – I make one every year now!

To see all of my DB challenges, please click this link!


Post-Partum Freezer Meals: Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks


My crockpot became my best friend during the time I was preparing meals for the freezer. I would prep all of the ingredients during the day and then let everything slow cook over night. In the morning, I would let it cool and then package the contents in mason jars. I focused on lots of soups and stews. Meals that were mostly hands off during cooking, could be packed in mason jars, so I didn’t have to give up any of my glassware to sit in the freezer for weeks and because soups and stews are easy to heat up.

One of our favorites was delicious and hearty split pea soup. In fact I had prepared this to serve to the midwives after the birth, but we were all too tired for food, so we ended up enjoying this later.

The first step, as you will see in many of the recipes in this series, is that I first made bone broth, this time from ham hocks we had in the freezer from our last two pigs. I made the bone broth in the crockpot as well, I added water to cover the bones and added about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a couple of bay leaves – that is the way I make most of my bone broths. Then I let it cook for about 24 hours.

Once the broth was made, I got all the meat off and reserved it. Then I basically made this soup (of course in this case it was not vegan!)

I put all the ingredients in the crockpot with the reserved meat and let it cook over night.

The thing about freezer meals is that you don’t re-invent the wheel, go through blogs, cookbooks etc. and make things you already know how to make, items that freeze well. This isn’t necessarily the time to experiment with difficult recipes. Here are some of the recipes I made or made similar recipes from recipes I already had on my blog.

Sardinian Purcavru in Agru Durci (sweet and sour pork)

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Veal and White Bean Stew 

Post-Partum Freezer Meals Series: Homemade Burgers and Meatballs


The last post I wrote was my daughter’s birth story and it got me thinking about all the things I did to prepare for her birth. So I decided to start a series on easy Postpartum Meals for the blog. These posts will also be of interest to those who are friends or family of a pregnant woman that would benefit greatly from having meals brought to her family in those first two weeks post-birth. Or for people who just want to nutritious and healthy freezable meals.

In this day and age many new moms and dads are isolated or living far from family and friends. One of the best things I did for myself in late pregnancy was spending a week getting various healthy, nutrient packed meals in the freezer for us, so when the baby came we were all set with good things to eat.

All in all, I was able to freeze a month’s worth of breakfasts, and about a month’s worth of lunches or dinners.  We are still eating from this bounty supplemented with some quick and easy fresh meals as well and now that Alba is over a month old, we are also going out for meals sometimes also.

I have read a lot about preparing for the arrival of your baby and most articles would suggest gathering local take-out menus so that during those first few weeks postpartum where you don’t really have the time or energy for cooking, you can let someone else cook for you.

This is good in theory, but the reality is that what you eat those first few weeks is the first nutrition you will be feeding your baby, if you are breastfeeding. So for me I wanted to be sure that what she was getting was super nutrient dense.  You won’t get that from take-out.

I am going to start the series out with two super easy ideas, pre-made burgers and meatballs. I will also link you to my Pinterest board with other Postpartum meal ideas that gave me inspiration when I came up with my own menu. In the posts to come I will share a variety of soups, stews, breads, muffins, etc.


Who doesn’t love a nice juicy burger? Especially at a time when your body could use more iron? Burgers are the perfect fix! Making burgers for the freezer is easy! I use 100% grass-fed beef as the base and then I like to add smoked salt and a little barbecue sauce to the meat, mix it with my hands and create the patties. The trick to this is then putting the patties on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a single layer and popping it in the freezer until frozen. This way you can package your burgers into 2 serving bundles without the patties sticking together. I used 3 lbs. of ground beef and got 12 patties.




I made meatballs in the same way. I flavored one batch with Italian seasonings: salt, oregano, basil and thyme and the other with Middle Eastern spices: salt, cumin, coriander, paprika and sumac. I formed the meatballs and then cooked them on cookie sheets in the oven at 350 F for about 15 minutes. After they cooled I put them in a single later on cookie sheets and popped them in the freezer, then bagged them in 2 person serving sizes for the freezer. With the Italian version we had rice pasta with meatballs and with the Middle Eastern meatballs we made Middle East Inspired Meatballs.

Here is my pinterest board with other freezable meals to get your mind and taste buds going.


Alba Rose Jenevieve’s Birth Story

alba pod

I am taking a bit of a diversion on the blog for this post, as it has nothing at all to do with food. However it does explain my long absence! Many people have asked me if I would share my birth experience and I can’t think of anywhere else to share it, so it will live here. Keep in mind while reading this that some experiences are hard to put into words, even for a writer.

I think most people asked to hear the story because I chose to have Alba Rose at home in the company of midwives, something that is thought of as quite unconventional in this day and age, despite millennia of precedence. During my pregnancy people would tell me I was brave, and sometimes people were concerned for me when I told them my plans to have my baby at home. My response was always that I thought people who had babies in hospitals were the brave ones, surrounded by strangers in a strange place going through one of the most truly awesome experiences in life in the hands of doctors. Not that doctors are bad, just for me they didn’t belong in my vision as a part of my sacred transformation from maiden to mother (unless there was something wrong with me or the baby that made it medically necessary for their expertise).

For me, having a child is one of the most monumental and natural acts in the world. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time, and always at home, attended by midwives. This has been the norm for a very long time. Our culture in modern times has relegated giving birth to the realm of doctors, medicine and medical intervention, sending women the message that giving birth is in the same category as having a disease or a medical problem and that they cannot birth a child on their own. Personally, I never bought into that for myself and was always confident that when the time came, my body would take over and know exactly what needed to be done.

So my birth plan was a simple one, to labor and give birth at home in a birthing tub with very little intervention. I have always loved the water, being an avid competitive swimmer once and the idea of giving birth in water felt comforting. We were all set up a few days ahead of time, I had an intuition that the baby was going to arrive in week 39 and that is what ended up happening.

One night as we were lying in bed, wondering when the wee one was going to arrive we heard something we had never heard before in the 4 years we have lived in this house, an owl on our roof hooting loudly. I will preface this by saying that all during my pregnancy I have been drawn to anything with owls on it, and had bought a few owl themed items for the baby, so when we heard the owl, we wondered if it was a herald of labor beginning soon. I found out later, that my cousin Michelle, who is like a sister to me, had an encounter with an owl on the same night.

The next morning I woke up to some cramping. I was getting these cramps about every half an hour. They didn’t feel at all like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been experiencing, so I didn’t pay too much attention to them. We woke leisurely and then decided to go into town and have brunch and take the dogs on a nice long walk. As we enjoyed our day, the time between cramps got shorter and by the time we got home and had prepared a snack for dinner, they were coming about 5 minutes apart. We were just relaxing and watching TV and at 9:40 PM my water broke. It really wasn’t until that moment I realized that this was for real and I was in labor and had been in early labor all day!

We called the midwives and within the hour they were here. For the next two hours the contractions started getting more intense, but I was lucid and in my normal frame of mind, chatting it up with everyone in between contractions and taking a minute or so to concentrate when they came on again. Around 1 am things started to change, the contractions were very strong at this point and I was having a difficult time noticing my surroundings, my attention was drawn inward, into my breath, into the pain. Soon, I was not getting any rest in between contractions and as the contractions came on my stomach muscles began rippling downward on their own. It was time to start pushing. At this point it was hard to find a comfortable position and the birthing tub was not quite up to temperature yet, so I had to make do. Roberto was there the whole time with soothing words and an ice pack that he kept moving to different parts of my body so I could focus on that instead of the pain I was getting with each contraction. I was totally inside myself at this point, not really able to interact with what was happening outside of myself. It was very intense and my memory of that time is still vey foggy even now.

Eventually the tub was ready and everyone helped me walk over to it and get in. The tub was amazing, the warmth of the water slowed the contractions a bit, so I was able to rest in between and regain some reserves of strength. I remember at this point feeling like I couldn’t push hard enough to get the baby out, without ripping in half but the encouragement of Roberto and the midwives helped my mind to get past the fear and give it all I had! After a little while in the tub, I remember feeling like my legs had some strength in them again and I got into a squatting position. It was in this position that I was able to push her head out. I remember Roberto touching her head and saying: “I feel a nose!” The midwives put a hand mirror in the water so I could see what was happening, but I was in a zone and so I was concentrating on pushing, breathing and just existing, everything around me was just a big haze. Soon they told me I only needed to push one more time and the baby would be out. I told them I didn’t believe them, but I pushed as hard as I could, finally giving into the unknown and at 2:50 AM on September 8, 2013 Alba Rose Jenevieve Campus was born! Roberto got to catch her!

My bag of water had broken in the back and so when she came out, she was covered in the amniotic sack. Our midwife, Angela pulled it off of her and they laid her on my chest. She was all clean and pink, just like those fake newborns in the movies, the sack had kept her clean. I wasn’t even aware of any of this, at the time but I heard a little gurgling cry by my ear and I looked over to my right shoulder and there was a tiny little baby! Roberto announced that it was a girl.


Then I remember turning to Roberto and saying: “she looks like Alba Rose, right?”. We had a few names on the list, but this was the name we were calling her in our hearts the last several months of my pregnancy. We didn’t even “officially” know she was a girl, but we KNEW.

I have also been asked the significance of her name. Alba means “dawn” in Italian. She was conceived on the Winter Solstice, the day when the sun returns, and the days start getting longer. That morning I woke before dawn and greeted the rising sun as I do every solstice, but this year had a special magic to it and we now know why! Alba is also the Gaelic name for Scotland. Rose is for the flower – her little rosebud mouth and also for the sun rising. We also found out recently that there is a rose called the Alba Rose that is an ancient rose variety from the time of the Romans and it is the rose that was adopted as the symbol of the Jacobites (Scottish nationalists) and this rose variety is also known as “The Jacobite Rose”. I have some Jacobite ancestors in my lineage, so it really fits! Jenevieve is the French version of my name and since she was conceived in Quebec City, it is a nod to that bit of her personal history.


Birthing this baby is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and also the most gratifying. I am so thankful that we were able to have her the way we wanted, in the comfort of our own home, surrounded by trusted midwives who had been with us through the whole pregnancy. I am so grateful to have a healthy baby girl who has quickly become the biggest joy in our lives!

Stone Fruit Tart (grain and dairy free)



I made this delicious and seasonal stone fruit tart a couple of weeks ago and I have been meaning to share it with you all!

My forays into the kitchen have slowed down a bit due to my protruding belly which has me bumping into things and being generally less graceful than usual, however when it comes to baking, I seem to be a bit more motivated it seems another thing that has come along with this pregnancy is a bit of a sweet tooth.

I have never been into really sweet desserts and I am still not, but I do find myself craving something sweet after dinner. Sometimes it is yogurt with fruit and honey or cajeta (goat’s milk caramel), sometimes-delicious organic whole fat ice cream or some other concoction I make in the kitchen, like this tart.

I found the tart crust and pastry cream filling on Pinterest. It is from . Carrie made a strawberry tart, but with all the beautiful stone fruits in season, I decided to change it up a little. The result was wonderful. Using coconut sugar as the sweetener gave the pastry cream a bit of a caramelized flavor, which added some depth, and the crust was perfect – flaky and delicious. It held up to the cream nicely and it seemed like the flavors of the tart got better each day that it rested in the fridge in between servings!

Have fun with this recipe – use what fruits are in season and what you have on hand and you won’t be disappointed!

Stone Fruit Tart (adapted from Deliciously Organic)


2 cups almond flour
2 TBS coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 tsp arrowroot
3/4 tsp sea salt
8 TBS unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup coconut sugar
3 TBS arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 large plums, sliced thin
2 apricots, sliced thin
Handful of currants as garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Butter a 9-inch tart pan. Place almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, gelatin, arrowroot and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to combine. Add butter and pulse 10 times to combine and then process until mixture forms dough. Press dough on bottom and up sides of tart pan.

Place tart pan on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just turning golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes, then place tart crust in the refrigerator.

Pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, place the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using a whisk attachment, whisk mixture on medium-high for 3 minutes until very thick. Reduce speed to low and add arrowroot. Whisk until incorporated. With mixer on low, slowly (very slowly) add the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture.

When all of the coconut milk has been added, pour the coconut milk/egg mixture into the saucepan and heat over low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture forms a thick pudding. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, butter, and almond extract. Pour pastry cream into a large bowl. Place a piece of parchment paper directly on the pastry cream (this will prevent it from forming a skin). Chill for about 45 minutes.

Pour cooled pastry cream over the crust in the tart pan and spread evenly. Chill for about 3 hours. Place sliced stone fruits on top of pastry cream and serve. Serves 8