Hope you had a wonderful Thursday. Tomorrow is already Friday. The weekend is almost here... ooh so close, can you feel it?!...


Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus... peaches... strawberries... tomatoes.... all things that are best in season. In the hottest of summer months peaches are the juiciest and tomatoes complete BLTs perfectly.

Just when the asparagus stocks were about to get a little woody this summer and were on their way out; I whipped up an unusual—and unforgettable—new recipe that you must try. This recipe was inspired by SmittenKitchen's asparagus pizza. If you haven't made your way over to SmittenKitchen, oy, you're in for a treat!
Start by prepping your ingredients. Try anything you like or have in your 'frig! I started with fresh mushrooms and asparagus, of course. I drizzled the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
Then chopped up sun-dried tomatoes and grabbed some mozzarella and pepporoni and sprinkled all of my ingredients on a 100% whole wheat thin crust.
Bake according to the crust directions and enjoy.
I completely understand asparagus isn't easily found in one's garden or at the farmer's market currently, SO print it out. bookmark it. anything you have to do, so you remember to try this pizza next summer when the asparagus start sprouting!


Kale chips and my dead ivy.

kale chip recipe below!

happy saturday :)

how is your day going? mine started just like last saturday.... with a jog that ended at the Des Moines Farmers Market. I found so many goodies. Most markets are open through the end of October (pumpkin, squash, gourds, and apple season is just beginning!); please visit your local farmers market.

There are so many wonderful perks to a local farmers market, but one of my favorites is the amazing organic, or locally-grown, produce. I recently read a very interesting article in Fitness magazine in which it outlined certain veggies and fruit that belong in the 'dirty dozen' group or the 'clean 15'. These are two groups which are notorious for being either highly contaminated with chemicals or being quite clean and pestide-free. The lists are below and I think you'll find it very surprising which veggies/fruit are on each list!

the Dirty Dozen —from worst to best—
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (Imported)
And the Clean 15 —from best to worst—
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potato
  • Honeydew melon
Knowing this, I picked up 2 of the dirty dozen listmakers at an organically-grown booth at the market. Peaches and Kale! I also picked up organically-grown carrots (carrots didn't appear on the list! hmm) to be made into a Squash Kale Stew later this week :)
If you are like me and wondering what the heck you do with kale... rest assured; I have a recipe for you :)

Who wouldn't love a healthy green veggie that is
  1. very filling
  2. eats like a snack
  3. AND satisfies like a potato chip?!
I know right!? Sign me up! You must try kale chips! I believe Kath started it all. You should definitely make your way over to katheats.com and see her video and read her latest posts. She is wonderful!

Kale Chips
1. wash and tear off clumps of kale from stock
2. scatter kale clumps on pan. try not to bunch them too tightly.
the pan should peek through a little.
3. spray lightly with cooking spray or olive oil spritzer. season with kosher salt, herb mix, garlic, anything your little heart desires.
4. bake for 12 min. at 350
I enjoyed mine with an avocado and spinach sandwich (with red pepper hummus served on a toasted sandwich thin) and a tomato.
These are so simple and such a yummy way to get your greens in that are essential to being and feeling healthy! I took my leftovers (an entire pan!) to work the next day and they were just as snackable.
Side note. don't they look remarkably similar to my ivy plant at work!? I watered this guy 2 days ago and now he is .... well... dead!? aw bummer.
Have a wonderful weekend :)


Downtown Living

nothing. nothing. beats a farmers market!

Saturday morning, in the beautiful sunny weather, I walked to the Farmer's Market in downtown Des Moines. It is only 10 or so blocks away from my loft and was bustling with people and produce. I grabbed a coffee at a local coffee shop and started shopping! I purchased almond butter and kale and can't wait to make kale chips later this week! more to come on those :)I sliced up a juicy apple as soon as I got home and dug in to the almond butter. love. If you haven't tried almond butter (or any nut butter!) you must! They go well with so many things (apples, oatmeal, carrot chips, by the spoonful, or used just as peanut butter is!
And for breakfast—a mug of coffee and the best bowl of oatmeal. Kath at katheats.com knows her stuff. I followed her recipe and am now addicted. It's creamy, whipped, packed with healthy grains and seeds, and keeps you full until noon!
1/3 c oats. 1/3 almond milk. 1/3 cup water. 1/2 sliced banana. 1 T chia seeds. 1 T ground flax seed. 1/2 tsp salt. 1 tsp vanilla. all prepared on the stove. topped with Kashi cereal and a big blob of almond butter :) breakfast perfection.

One of the reasons I was drawn to live downtown was being close to work. I can now walk (!!!) to work in less than 15 min. It is a lovely walk.... and definitely beats the 50 min. mundane. boring. interstate. drive I was doing before! Here are some pictures I snapped as I was walking home today.
Des Moines Public Library.
completely copper structure that looks so neat at night because it becomes see-thru!
Beautiful limestone hardscaping with treelined sidewalks.
Looking forward to fall as my walk becomes littered with fall leaves and golden trees!
Below is the east, and probably most unappealing, side of Meredith and our lawn.
I pass a Starbucks twice. daily! eek but have only stopped once so far :) Isn't the building quaint? Right next door to the Des Moines Civic Center and a wonderful Italian restaurant Centro.

a peek at the side of my loft. more to come as we finish decorating and organizing our new home!