Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Beurre Noisette

sweet potato gnocchi, gnocchi recipes, Thanksgiving side dishes, sweet potatoes

Rich little pillows of deliciousness, these hearty sweet potato gnocchi are spiced with fresh nutmeg and finished simply with beurre noisette (which, I believe, means “drink me” in French. Only kidding…”beurre noisette” is just a pretty word for butter cooked until it’s hazelnut brown).

Beurre noisette, also called browned butter, is what young, ambitious butter aspires to be. It makes a ridiculously easy and utterly delectable sauce for anything from pasta to fish, and is a fantastic way to elevate any simple protein or pasta dish to “company” status.

Sweet potato gnocchi are perfect for the fall table. Try them alongside roasted ham, chicken, or pork. Consider starting a new tradition and serving these as a side dish with your turkey this Thanksgiving!

Click here to find this recipe on Eat Real.

The Dog Ate What?!

Recently, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends on the Vegas Strip. We ate delicious things like stone crabs and scallops, rib-eyes and sea bass. We drank red wine and excellent coffee and wrapped up with key lime pie. It was one of those nights that just fills you with goodwill and a sense of satisfaction. We drove home in the afterglow of good food and good company.

Then we walked into the house and found what appeared to be the aftermath of a bomb made exclusively from powdered-sugar doughnuts.Splenda spill Fine white dust coated the chocolate-colored sofa and made drifts in the carpet. Pawprints in white indicated that traffic across the living room had been brisk.

The dog, whiskers and nostrils crusted white, wagged her tail lamely and avoided eye contact. In the middle of the room lay a decimated one-pound bag of granulated Splenda.

What happens when a medium-sized dog eats roughly a pound of Splenda? (And not just any Splenda, but Splenda with FIBER?) Bad things happen. Gastrointestinal things.

Technically speaking, Splenda isn’t toxic to dogs, but as with humans, if enjoyed in “excessive amounts,” Splenda can cause the runs. A pound is excessive by anyone’s standards. In fact, describing the consumption of an entire pound of Splenda as “excessive” is something like calling an epic bout of explosive diarrhea “the runs.” Which is to say, the understatement of the year.

We dragged her bed and toys and water dish to the backyard, wished her luck and pleasant dreams, and fastened shut the doggie door.

Predictably, it was a rough night out there in Osmotic Diarrhea City. To be honest, it was no picnic inside, either, cleaning a pasty rime of artificial sweetener off the upholstery and carpet.

In the morning, I stepped out onto the patio and summoned the dog from her exile. As I scratched her ears in greeting, I surveyed the yard. Then I uncoiled the hose and spent the next half hour washing the dog’s bed and toys, the patio, and the retaining wall around the yard.

When I finished the Great Hosedown of September 2014, we went inside and ate breakfast. One of us had an appetite. The other of us had coffee.

Black, not sweet.Dog


LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme


LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

This is my first weekend experimenting with the metabolic efficiency training diet, and since weekends call for dessert, I took to my kitchen. What I came up with is this little number–a silky smooth dark chocolate pot de creme with a hint of peanut butter. It’s gluten-free and almost dairy-free (the darker the chocolate, the smaller the amount of dairy).

Honestly, I would have no trouble serving this to dinner guests and not telling them it meets any certain dietary specifications. Even though it’s LCHF, no one would ever guess it’s anything other than a rich, decadent chocolate pot de creme. You can take my word on it (pastry chef here). And the best part? It takes about 5 minutes to throw together. True story.

Give it a try. You know you want to.


LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not light)
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I like Perugina or Ghirardelli, 63% or higher)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated Splenda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon granulated Splenda (Optional)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Bring coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place chocolate, Splenda, vanilla, and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor*.
  3. Pour hot coconut milk over chocolate (et al.) in the food processor. Fasten the lid and process until smooth and completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour into ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3-4 hours, until firm.
  4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve cold.

*If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this with a good blender. Follow your blender’s instructions on processing hot liquids–most blenders have a removable insert in the cap to vent steam. I hold a folded dish towel over the opening when operating mine with hot liquids.

Filed under: LCHF, Recipes, Runner Fuel, Sweets Tagged: chocolate, coconut milk, dessert, LCHF, low carb, peanut butter

Questions for Runners

573c1bc3b2592c207f0f16bca7d69f56Almost all the runners I know like to talk about themselves–that is, about their experience as a runner. When was the last time you sat around with a group of runners and DIDN’T discuss your past injuries, awesome races, awful races, that time on your run when you were seized with the absolute need to locate a Port-a-John STAT and there was no relief in sight? We all do it, share our stories–it’s part of being in a community of like-minded others. 

So here’s your chance to share your tales of woe and wonder over the interwebs! Grab a coffee, a beer, or an electrolyte beverage and weigh in. Below are 5 questions we love to discuss. Answer in the comments below and share, if you’d like!

1. Worst running-related injury?

2. Favorite pre-race and post-race eats?

3. Favorite race and why?

4. Achievement/PR you’re proudest of?

5. Favorite running-related quote?


Filed under: Q & A, Races, Road Running, Runner Fuel, Trail Running, Ultramarathons Tagged: PR, racing, runner fuel, running advice, telling tales

Going Low Carb…


In case I haven’t already mentioned it, I’m in the process of getting my NASM certification for Fitness Nutrition.There’s a lot of crazy, conflicting info out there, and I want to be able to sort through it effectively, not only for myself, but also for others who are equally interested in their health and their performance.

I do a lot of independent reading and researching in nutrition because that’s the kind of girl I am. Which is to say, skeptical and contentious. I find it almost impossible to take someone’s (anyone’s) word on something; I need to learn the why and how for myself.

For years, we’ve all been hearing about the wonders of the various low-carb diets: Atkins, LCHF, paleo/primal, etc. Drop fat! Improve cardiac health! Never feel hungry! Eat all the bacon you can stuff into your mouth and still whittle flab! Make “sandwiches” of bacon and cheese and bacon! BACON!!!

My take on all of this was just, NOPE. I’m a pastry chef and an ultrarunner. Give up whole grains and cut my carbs back to fewer than a 100g/day? HAHAHAHA. But then…

I started investigating. And the science seemed a little more than possible; it seemed plausible. But how to know? Guinea pig it, obviously. So here I go, for the first time in my adult life, jumping deliberately onto a bandwagon. I’m going to be experimenting with a low-carb diet while simultaneously training for a 12-hour ultra run. No pasta dinners, no bagels, no gels or goos or sports drinks.

Is this easy for me? Oh, hell no! Words like “paleo” and “induction” have been like sand in my mouth. I have done my fair share of Atkins bashing. I hate food analogs–I’d rather give up pizza than eat one made on a crust of baked cauliflower mush. If I’m going to eat a donut, I want it chock-full of carbs and dripping sugar. So this is a big serving of humble pie, in a way. And that’s okay. In the name of discovery and science and all that.

Am I nervous? Oh, hell yes! My diet has always been carb heavy (refer above to “pastry chef and ultrarunner”). I love my carbs–cereal with bananas for breakfast, English muffins with peanut butter post-run, beer. But dang it, I’m inquisitive. I want to know…can this really work? Can it work for ME?

So, for five weeks or so, I’m going to try this way of eating. I’ll be using the Metabolic Efficiency Training model, developed by Bob Seebohar and discussed in his book, Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level . What does that mean? In short, it’s periodizing nutrition to accommodate training demands. The first phase means cutting whole grains completely. Yikes, I know. But it’s only for a while. When training ramps up, I’ll add back my beloved oatmeal, polenta, quinoa. Beer. But for now, no grains, no sugars. On the plus side, I will be eating lots of veggies and fruits, protein, and healthy fats. Seems doable.

I’ll keep you posted on my journey along the way. If you’re on one of the low-carb diets yourself, feel free to offer suggestions/anecdotes/advice; I’d love to hear from you. If, however, you feel that low-carb diets comprise the meal plan in hell, you don’t need to share. Trust me–you won’t come up with an anti-low-carb argument I haven’t already come up with on my own (again, pastry chef, ultrarunner, bandwagon-hater here). This is an experiment in the name of science (and fitness…and cynicism); I’m determined to keep an open mind–and I’m the one giving up beer.

Let’s see what happens. Stay tuned for hilarity, tears, recipes. And if you’re inclined, check out some of these resources, which are among those I’m using for guidance. I’ll add more as I come upon them, and I’d love to hear about your fave go-tos for nutritional advice.

So that’s it. I’m off to buy provisions–spinach, kale, raspberries, bacon. No beer. Sigh.
Wish me luck.

Blog Tour

I was invited to participate in this tour by one of my favorite and dearest and BFFest friends, Sherri Jo of The Adventures of Kitchen Girl. I met her waaaay back in the early days of food blogging, before Facebook share groups and Pinterest. (Yes, there was a time before Pinterest ~ believe it!) If you have some Sherri Jo in your life, you have a pretty good thing, so I strongly advise you to check out her blog, her Facebook page, and her Twitter feed without further delay.

While you’re checking out Sherri Jo’s sites, be sure to pin a few of her awesome recipes. Two of my faves:

Asian Style Beef “Hot Pockets”

Beer Cheese Soup with Vegetables and Andouille Sausage

Blog Tour Questions

1. What am I working on?

I’m currently writing 3 blogs ~ Eat Real (food), Growlers and Lace (craft beer), and Run the Bend (running). I have a romance novel (under a pen name) coming out this summer, and I’m in the process of shopping a cookbook proposal. Beyond that, I’ve outlined 3 more cookbooks, a  couple of YA novels, a romance novel trilogy, and I’m working on a collection of short stories. I also write nonfiction pieces for a Vegas-based lifestyle magazine and a few other outlets.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My approach to food is “real food for real people” ~ whole, quality food prepared in satisfying and interesting ways. I love to play with flavors, textures, and colors in my cooking. I’m a scratch cook and baker; I use only very minimally processed foods. I’ve been a food writer/editor for more than 20 years and a pastry chef for the last five, so I have a pretty large base of culinary experience to draw from. I try to develop recipes that are accessible to people of all levels of culinary skill, so it’s important to me that they be accurate and well-written.  
3. Why do I write what I do?
I like to cook! I also like to eat ~ I really like to eat. Writing about food gives me a great way to justify experimenting with recipes all the time. Recipe development is also something of a creative outlet ~ it combines writing, photography, and food artistry.

4. How does my writing process work?
Like many writers, I have an idea feed going through my head all the time. I don’t keep specific hours at my desk (the joy of freelancing!), but I do keep journals and files of ideas and write stuff down in short, cryptic bursts all the time. I like to write fiction at my computer, but I write recipes longhand and then retype them. It helps me think about the process of preparation and makes me more careful about details. Fiction is better suited for typing (for me) because if I’m not writing very quickly, I tend to edit as I go…a bad, bad habit formed from 20+ years of being an editor.

My Featured Faves

Kelly from Sass & Veracity ~ Hmm…how to describe Kelly? She writes, she photographs, she cooks, she travels…she’s witty and sassy and her blog is gorgeous and elegant. I’ve known Kelly from our earliest days of blogging, and she’s just continued to grow and evolve as an artist. Treat yourself and visit her blog!

Fideua: Spanish Pasta with Clams, Mussels, and Shrimp
Strawberry Key Lime Cream Cheese Cake

Marye from Restless Chipotle ~ Marye is a wise woman of many talents, not the least of which includes writing with razor-sharp clarity about some very tough subjects. Marye is my sister from another mother: she is a wearer of tall, sexy shoes; a kicker of a$$; a funny, smart, take-no-crap babe. And she’s from Texas, y’all! You, like me, will be glad you met her.

Heirloom Sweet Potato Gratin
Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Patsy from FamFriendsFood ~ I don’t know exactly how long I’ve known Patsy, but I do know we met in the early days of blogging. And Patsy has the distinction of being one of the only blogger friends I’ve ever actually met in person! And that, I can tell you, was a rare treat. Patsy’s recipes are warm, welcoming, and delightful ~ just like she is. Want to find something wonderful for family dinner? Head to her site!

Braised Short Ribs to Warm the Tummy

Caramel Apple Bread

I hope you enjoyed this sampler of some of my favorite blogs. Please make sure to take the time to stop by and visit them; trust me, you’ll come away happier and hungrier!

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

Creamy, light, rich, and perfect for summer salads, this version of the ’70s fave, Green Goddess, is going into heavy rotation at my house. I didn’t add anchovies because I was out of them, but I highly recommend tossing in a filet or two before blending.

The lemon juice will help preserve the lovely green of the avocados, but I probably wouldn’t make this more than a few hours in advance. I find mine stays pretty overnight, but it does eventually darken as the avocado oxidizes. If this happens, no worries…it’s still delicious.

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

Yield: About 1 cup

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt  
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. If desired, thin with a tablespoon of milk or water at a time.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 days. 

Leftovers: Great or Gross?

Leftovers…everyone has them. Some people plan them, others despise them, and some view them as a happy consequence of making too much of a good thing.

I happen to like leftovers most of the time. There are some foods that do very well giving an encore performance and others that are opening-night stars but flame out. The thing is, this definition changes with the eater. What I consider to be a bang-up leftover meal might make you reach for the phone and a takeout menu.

I decided to make a list of the items I find myself looking forward to as leftovers and the ones I usually suffer through (because I feel too guilty to just throw them out). These are just preferences on my part. You may (probably will) disagree. In which case I’d love to hear your picks.

Leftover All-Stars

  1. Lasagna/manicotti/stuffed shells. YES. If I make lasagna for dinner one night, I wake up in a good mood the next day just thinking about leftovers. 
  2. Pulled pork. Just gets better, especially if it’s sauced. 
  3. Spiral ham. Cook for a couple of hours, eat for a week.
  4. Meatloaf. I prefer this the next day–pan-warmed slices of meatloaf on a roll with a little mayo and mustard are heaven. Heaven, I tell you.
  5. Chili. My idea of the ideal make-ahead meal. Even resurrected from the freezer, it’s delicious.

Leftover Fails

  1. Pizza. Hot or cold. Pizza is one of my very favorite foods. But I’ve never been a fan of reheated pizza; never eaten cold pizza for breakfast. I don’t even fully understand that concept. 
  2. Pot pie. So delicious on day 1, so mushy ever after. 
  3. Pasta Alfredo/macaroni and cheese. As many times as I’ve tried to, I’ve never been able to resurrect a cheese sauce successfully. I’m usually left with pasta clumped with cheese and swimming in butter. Which might have it’s charms, but it’s just not the same.
  4. Cream soups. Just, nope. 
  5. Ribs. So sad, but no. The meat gets stringy and greasy. I’ve found a work-around, though. If we happen to have any leftover ribs, I cut the meat from the bone and reheat it that way, with a little BBQ sauce. 

Now it’s your turn. Which leftovers do you look forward to from the minute you snap down the lid on your Rubbermaid containers? Which ones do you avert your eyes from as they languish on the fridge shelf?