How to Create a Cheeseboard: Guest Post From Shubie's in Marblehead
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I am thrilled to share with you Dougy  Shube's guest post on how to create the perfect cheese board when entertaining. This is info is perfectly timed as we're approaching Easter and Passover.  If you aren't familiar with Shubies in downtown Marblehead, MA you're missing out!  Dougy and his team know their stuff and they just might be the friendliest, kindest people I know!

If you and your friends are anything like me and my friends, getting together for a low key hang out night can feel like a tiny victory. It just doesn’t happen enough! And now that the night is finally here, who is bringing what?

Hopefully your friends love cheese just as much as mine do, so I usually am in charge of the cheese board, which kind of feels like cheating since I’ve been around cheese since I was ten. Cheese should be fun, and whether you're a guest at my house or my cheese counter at Shubie’s (my other “house”), I want cheese to be a moooo-ving experience. 

And putting together a show-stopping cheese board is a lot easier than you think. It’s a question I get a lot at Shubie’s, so I’ve listed below some tips.

How many cheeses should I serve and how much? Mix it up! I typically suggest three to five cheeses and you should typically assume 1 oz per cheese per person (for a party of 8, you would get a minimum of 1/2 lb of each cheese). Any fewer than three and it might look skimpy, but more than five and your guests could be overwhelmed and looking for the chips and dip!

What kind of cheese should I get?  Cheese is made in many styles, all over the world, from a variety of milk types—goat, sheep, cow, water buffalo—try highlighting varying styles, textures, appearances and milk types. If you’re invited to a party and don’t know the people that well, it’s sometimes safer to stick with crowd pleasers like brie, gouda and cheddar.

What about putting my board together…help!  You got this far—you can do it! I like using dark slate or wooden boards for a beautiful contrast. And in a world full of wedges, cutting up blocks of cheese into smaller shapes can make it visually more appealing and easier for your guests to enjoy, too. Each cheese should have its own knife for serving. Make sure to use some of the accoutrements listed below for contrast…have fun!

One of the biggest questions I get at the Shubie's cheese counter is, “What should I serve with my cheeses?” Here are some of my favorite cheese accessories:

  • fresh fruit: add color (and abundance) to your table with the use of grapes or berries. Serving up some cheddar? Slice up some apples for a winning combo!
  • olives: need a pleasant and briny break between bites? Look no further than olives! Pro tip: live a small bowl for pits :)
  • jam: with a more direct sweetness than dried fruit, jams help balance flavors with a softer texture, too.
  • dried fruit: figs, dates or apricots are a great sweet-but-not-too-sweet companion to almost any cheese. Blue cheese and figs makes for a sweet finish to any night.
  • nuts: bring great texture to the table especially when serving creamy cheeses. I love Spanish Marcona almonds!
  • charcuterie: turn a snack into a meal! Prosciutto, Serrano ham, or salami…any way you slice it, they all work perfectly.

My final words on curds… For some, a visit to the cheese counter can be intimidating. I always say that a good cheese counter or shop wants you to learn and wants you to taste. If they aren’t willing to do either of those, I strongly suggest you search until you find people with passion…it’s more fun for everyone!

And when it comes to creating your cheese board, start with what you like, what you know and work from there. And before you know it, you’ll be your own cheese whiz.

Eating In Season: Why It's Good For You and For The Earth
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A few months ago, Jesse bought a beautiful cookbook where every recipe focuses on cooking and eating vegetables in season. After flipping through the book a few times, I started really thinking about what the term Eating In Season means. Can eating this way really benefit our overall health and the planet? I often wonder if this term is just another trendy, food-related fad that is thrown around with out having a true understanding of what it means. There is no doubt about it, we are part of a global food supply chain. It is possible to get just about ingredient we want, at any time of the year. This fact can either be viewed as a wonderful luxury or something we should be concerned about. 

Simply put, Eating In Season means eating foods that are grown and/or harvested in the time of year (or season) that we are cooking and consuming them. For example, the best time to eat squash and apples is in the fall when they are highly available and easiest to get. Strawberries and peaches are in bountiful supply in the summer months, especially at local farms.

It should be noted that my family and I always support our local farms when they are open; either enjoying the "pick your own" fruit and vegetable option or by joining a CSA. However, does it make me a horrible person if I buy a quart of organic strawberries in February for my kids' yogurt parfaits? Eating fresh berries in the winter is a good thing, right? 

Once I got online, I quickly learned that most, if not all of the produce we get in the winter months is coming from countries thousands of miles away that do not have the same agricultural standards that we do. Those aforementioned organic strawberries were picked months ago in another country and have been living in refrigerated trucks for longer than I want to know. They were picked before they were ripe, limiting their exposure to the sun. They are not yielding the most vitamins and nutrients for our bodies. They can contain up to 70% less antioxidants than berries grown and eaten in season. Basically, I am not giving my kids the healthy berries I thought I was.  

Produce that is harvested in season, is able to grow without a lot of added pesticides and genetic modification.  Basically, we aren't supposed to be able to grow tomatoes in January! All of these toxic chemicals, are not only bad for our health, they are bad for our water supply, our soil and our air quality. When eating more seasonal food that is produced as locally as possible, we are reducing the stress on our environment due to excessive transportation or “food mileage”. 

I have to be honest, this winter, when I have put a few avocados and a pint of blackberries in my cart, I was not thinking about their effect on the earth. I wasn't thinking about their long journey to get to my market. They likely sat on ocean tankers and trucks that were emitting greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide into our environment, this is irreversible. 

I also really love the way this author beautifully summed it up:  Living in tune with nature’s rhythm makes us more aware and appreciative of the beauty around us. We can live in balance with our surroundings and avoid living in conflict with nature. Embracing the natural rhythm of things also helps simplify our lives. The options are limited and we can trust that our food is nourishing and good for us!- Katrine van Wyk

I've come to realize that during the winter months, eating local might have to take on a slightly broader meaning. Yes, our neighbor's farm is closed, but I can choose to buy produce that is grown in our state, our region or our country.  These provisions will travel less distance, will sit on trucks for shorter periods of time and will hopefully retain most of their nutrients. Not having fresh berries in February, just may make my family appreciate them that much more in June, when we can walk across the street and pick them together. No one ever said the term "absence makes the heart grow fonder" couldn't be applied to food, too! 

Here are 5 reasons why my family and I are going to try buying and eating more of what's in season (starting today):

  1. We'll be supporting local farmers and their hard-fought business.
  2. We are reducing the pollution that is released into the environment from the trucks, ships, vans, planes, etc. that are required to ship food globally. 
  3. We will save money! Food that is grown closer to our house costs less.
  4. We will be eating healthier, more nutrient dense food because it is picked when it is ripe and travels less distance to get to you. 
  5. We are going to feel better overall. When we feel better, we are happier and when we are happier, we are kinder. This world needs kinder people spreading happiness. 

As an incentive to start eating locally and seasonally, try this fantastic (and easy recipe):


(Makes a huge bowl, enough for 4 hearty servings for lunch/dinner or 10-12 servings as a side)

  • 1 head of curly kale, washed, dried, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 5 large carrots, washed and grated on a large box grater
  • 2 large apples (the more tart the better, think Granny Smith), washed, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup of thin red onion slices (the thinner the better)
  • 1/4 cup roasted and unsalted cashews (if you want to make this recipe NUT-FREE, omit the cashews and add 1/4 cup dried cranberries or 2 TBSP sunflower seeds instead.)
  • As much of the Basic Vinaigrette you like (see A Winning Basic Vinaigrette with Variations for the recipe)
  • 2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Top with the vinaigrette and mix well. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving, as the vinegar will help to break down the kale and it won't be as fibrous. 
  2. My family LOVES when I use the Peanut Sauce Variation as the dressing for the slaw. I usually serve it with either grilled chicken or salmon for a wonderful dinner. Don't forget a glass of crisp white wine! 



The Coastal Table: Our First Guest Post!
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To say that we have a love affair with the magazine The Coastal Table and it's publisher and founder, Karen Covey is an understatement. It is rare when a magazine sits on our coffee table for more than 3-4 weeks. However, Karen's magazines have become fixtures in our home, we have kept every single edition we receive in the mail. In fact, the word magazine just doesn't seem to adequately define this work of art. The pictures are gorgeous, the recipes are amazing, and the stories she and her team tell are beautifully written. It is such an honor to have Karen share one of her amazing dips for our blog this week. And, it's perfectly timed for Superbowl Sunday this weekend! I know what I'm bringing to our friends' party...

herbed shrimp dip

Be sure to serve the dip with the best crackers, and our choice is Onesto crackers. They’re gluten free (but completely don’t taste it), super flavorful and made locally in Vermont. You can read more about them here


  • 2 lemons, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crackers, for serving

1. Fill a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Cut 1 lemon in half and add halves to water. Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, until shrimp turn pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath. Once cooled, pat completely dry. Roughly chop shrimp, leaving some pieces bite-sized. Set aside. 

2. In a bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream, zest and juice from 1/2 lemon, parsley, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Stir mixture until well combined. Fold in shrimp. Taste for flavor and adjust as desired (if mixture is too thick, add an additional lemon juice). Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Karen J. Covey
Founder + Publisher, The Coastal Table Magazine
Folio: Winner for Best Epicurean Consumer Magazine, 2017, 2016
Folio: Finalist for Overall Magazine Design, 2017

Love: It Really Is All Around Us

About two years ago, my daughter Josie and I started a Love Is Everywhere campaign. On a walk one day, we spotted the shape of a heart in a tree and decided that it was a sign that symbols of love are everywhere, we just have to slow down to find them. We promised each other that if we ever saw a heart while we were out, we'd take a picture of it. Our hope is that after we compile enough, we will make a book one day. Not a book to publish, just a book for our family to look at together. 

I love this campaign we have started for so many reasons: 

1. Since we have started this project, I find myself taking longer walks with our dog, slowing down and REALLY trying to notice my surroundings. I used to view walking our dog as something I HAD to do. Now, I view our walks as a chance to spot more hearts. 

2. I find myself feeling younger and more joyful over something that doesn't cost a dime. Finding a heart in nature, at the beach or in my salad greens causes a feeling of pure happiness and excitement inside of me that I haven't felt since I was a child myself. That's a good feeling! 

3. I can often feel myself slowing down to look for beauty in things that I would normally pass right over and dismiss without a second glance. Wait, did I REALLY just see a heart in that leaf on the ground? Hey, that chewed up gum on the sidewalk resembles a heart! It's an addictive habit that I am okay with. 

4. When I am on the road away from my family, this project makes it a tiny bit more tolerable. If/when I see a heart around me, I take its picture and then text it to Jesse. He is able to share it with the kids and I don't seem so far away. They get excited to see the love that I see. 

5. It pains me that we are living in a world where name calling, un-acceptance of others and a general sense of fear can creep into our lives if we let it. Our Love Is Everywhere campaign is a reminder to me that love REALLY is all around us. Some days, we just may have to look for it.  

6. This campaign is our small way of not giving in to fear and hatred. I am not letting today's news bombard me and my family. I am not focusing on what is "wrong" with the world and the people in it. Josie and I are choosing to focus on what is beautiful and special and magical in this world.

7. Our whole family has joined in on our campaign. Zachary gets so excited when he sees hearts when he is out! When Jesse is traveling for work, I often get random pictures of hearts texted to me. It's the best kind of love letter! 

Will you join us? Share your heart pictures with us ( and we'll post them on the blog!

With love (and hearts!),


Honest, Delicious and Satisfying: Nuts About Chocolate Energy Bites
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Around 3pm each day, I find myself having a hard time focusing. Actually, that's not true at all. I am actually quite focused. I cannot stop thinking that I would do just about anything to get my hands on something sweet and chocolaty. Over the years, in my quest to become healthier and eat honestly, there is one thing that I absolutely will not give up: sweets. I cannot stress enough how much I love desserts and my kids have inherited that gene. But, just because we would much rather eat dessert first, it doesn't mean that we have to eat junk made with preservatives and modified ingredients.

My recipe for these energy bites is so good that my son's friend (not a health nut by any stretch) asks for them when ever he's at our house. They are the perfect answer to my afternoon chocolate craving, the most delicious dessert served with coffee, tea or a glass of red wine, a satisfying and energy-packed way to start the day or a healthy addition to your child's lunch box (if their school is nut-free, just substitute sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter and omit the cashews). The best part is that they are packed with sneaky healthy ingredients that your kids (or their friends) won't know they're eating, but will reap the benefits: more energy for sports, focused attention while doing homework, less mindless snacking on junk because they'll be satisfied...just to name a few! 

I always make an extra batch and keep them in a sealed container in our freezer. They will last for about 3 months, but honestly my family eats them long before then. Our favorite way to enjoy them is straight out of the the freezer. When you first bite into them, they are cold and frozen, but they warm in your mouth and get chewy and delicious. My kids think they taste like cookie dough balls, that's quite a compliment coming from two fellow dessert-addicts! 


(Makes 12-15 bite sized balls depending on how big you make them. These can be stored in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months) 

  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I love using Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Gluten-Free Rolled Oats)
  • 2 TBSP ground flax meal
  • 1 TBSP black chia seeds
  • 1 cup medjool dates (pitted and roughly chopped)
  •  1/4 cup roasted and unsalted cashews (if you want to make this recipe NUT-FREE, omit the cashews and add 1/4 cup dried cranberries or 2 TBSP sunflower seeds instead.)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I love Teddie Peanut Butter, they only use peanuts from the US and they are a huge sponsor of Best Buddies-If you want to make this NUT-FREE, substitute 1/2 cup sun butter here.)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (if you want to make this vegan, Enjoy Life's Vegan Dark Chocolate Morsels are amazing, this is what I use and my kids don't notice a difference.)
  1. In a food processor, mix all the ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Pulse about 8-10 times, don't over mix, it will get gummy tasting. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more of the oats. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 TBSP water. 
  2. Dump mixture into a large bowl and add the chocolate chips. Mix well with a spoon, or your hands.
  3. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a sheet of parchment paper to rest. . 
  4. I put 6 bites per parchment paper and then layer on top of that. I wrap the entire stack in plastic wrap, then put in a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag and put in the freezer. 
A "Winning" Basic Vinaigrette: With Variations
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Jesse and I have an ongoing competition as to who can craft a better salad dressing from scratch. I honestly don't think that we have had a jar of store-bought dressing in our fridge in the past 7 years. Eating salad at lunch or dinner is a staple in our house, so we are each constantly trying to perfect our recipes. At any point in time, you will find a mason jar full of some type of dressing or concoction in our fridge, ready to be tasted. I sometimes complain that Jesse's recipes are too vinegary for my taste, while he thinks that mine can often be too creamy for his palate (I have a secret love affair with home-made mayonnaise!). However, after testing this Basic Vinaigrette recipe on our kids (the most opinionated judges!) and at our friends' New Year's Eve party, everyone agrees this recipe may just be a winner! My kids can't stop dipping their carrot and cucumber sticks in the jar. And, several of our friends that had the salad I brought to the party have reached out asking for the recipe...pretty flattering! 

I hope you enjoy this vinaigrette as much as we do. I think it's a nice balance between the hit of tart vinegar that Jesse loves and the creamy texture I go for (no mayo in this, I love using tahini paste as a more shelf-stable alternative). Also, please read below for some delicious variations on this dressing: Healthy Peanut Sauce for chicken and noodle lettuce cups, Citrus Glaze for marinading/grilling chicken or fish, Lemony Tequila Drizzle over tacos and a Mediterranean Marinade for vegetable kebabs. 


Seriously, this stuff is addictive! 

(makes about 1 cup or half of one mason jar, this can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks,  just take out and let come to room temperature before using.) 

  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (I don't recommend using fresh garlic, as it won't last as long in the fridge)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TBSP tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP honey
  •  3/4 cup + 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a mason jar (or a bowl), zest of one half of the lemon.
  2. Next, squeeze in the juice of one half of the lemon.
  3. Add the next 6 ingredients, whisking well so the acid from the lemon and the vinegar basically "melts" the honey, tahini and sea salt. 
  4. Finally, add the olive oil and mix very well (either by whisking or capping the jar and shaking vigorously). 


HEALTHY PEANUT SAUCE (for chicken and noodle lettuce cups)

  • To the Basic Vinaigrette, add 1 TBSP hoisin sauce, 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp red curry paste and mix well.

CITRUS GLAZE (for marinading/grilling chicken or fish)

  • To the Basic Vinaigrette, add 1/4 cup of honey, one orange zested, juice of half of an orange, 2 tsp soy sauce and mix well. (Marinate chicken or fish in the fridge for no longer than 30 minutes as the acid from the citrus and the vinegar will start to cook the protein)

LEMONY TEQUILA DRIZZLE (for your favorite tacos)

  • To the Basic Vinaigrette, add 1 TBSP tequila of your choice, 1/4 cup tahini, 1 TBSP honey, zest of one lime, 1/4 tsp chile powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and mix well. (If you want to thicken the sauce and cook off the alcohol, simmer in a sauce pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes)

MEDITERRANEAN MARINADE (for vegetable kebabs)

  • To the Basic Vinaigrette, add 1/2 TBSP fresh minced oregano, 1/2 TBSP fresh minced flat leaf parsley, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and mix well. (Marinate for no longer than 30 minutes in the fridge. Then, keep basting on the vegetables while grilling or roasting.)
The Magic of Christmas: It Shouldn't Cost a Fortune
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I know I am not alone in saying that I absolutely LOVE the holidays. I cherish experiencing the pure magic of Christmas through my children's eyes. To share in their wonder and excitement over everything related to Santa, his elves and those reindeer, makes me feel like a child again, myself. I love the smells and aromas that waft out of our kitchen after an afternoon baking with my kids. I marvel in seeing the love and kindness that seems to seep into everyone's souls at this time of year.

Strangers even seem to be friendlier and more patient with one another (okay, maybe not at the malls). We all seem to be a bit more generous. I love that people seem to really embrace the spirit of giving. But, this doesn't mean that we need to max our credit cards and spend money we don't have just to show people we care. In my family, giving gifts at the holidays doesn't cost a fortune. Each Christmas, I love exchanging hand-made gifts with my three sisters. 

Over the years, we've shared treasures of hand-made jewelry, candles, soaps, family cookbooks, knitted scarves, pottery and my personal favorite: food! Is there a better way to show someone you love them, than by taking the time to create something with your own hands? Each time I put on my beautiful blue, aquamarine necklace one of my sisters made me, I feel her love and kindness wrap around me. Every time I make my younger sister's Savory Monkey Bread, I think of her and her infectious laugh. And, every time it is cold and I reach for my oldest sister's soft, hand-knitted scarf, I smile and feel my heart grow warm. If you feel inspired to create a gift, rather than buy it, try one of my favorites below. I think they'll be the perfect way to show that special someone you love them! 


Christmas Morning Banana Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free)

These are seriously SO GOOD that you (and your guests) won't have any clue that they are vegan and gluten-free. And, they are perfect for your kids' school lunches as they are nut-free! I love baking an extra batch or two and freezing them for up to 3 months (they don't ever last this long!). And, they are so easy to make, all in one bowl, minimal clean up. 

(makes 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins and takes about 5 minutes to prepare and about 25 to bake)

  • 1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4 medium or 3 large)
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seed (make sure it is ground!)
  • 1/3 cup plant-based milk (I like almond milk, or water works fine too!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (you can substitute apple sauce, but the muffins won't be as fluffy)
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 TBSP coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour 
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: Chia seeds, sliced bananas, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a bit of the melted coconut oil to grease the muffin tins. 
  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth (I like to leave a few chunks as I love biting into these in my muffins, but mash according to your texture preference). 
  3. Stir the wet ingredients (ground flax, milk/water, melted oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract) into the banana until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients (sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour) into the wet mixture. If the mixture seems too runny to you, add a TBSP more of the oat flour. 
  5. Spoon the dough into the muffin tins and fill until about 3/4 way full. This is the time to add any of your toppings, if you chose to.  You may have to press them gently into the batter to make sure they stay put when baking! 
  6. Bake for about 22-24 minutes depending on your oven. I check mine with a toothpick in the center after 22 minutes. If the toothpick comes out clean, they're done! 
  7. Cool completely (if you can wait that long!) and enjoy with someone you love. 

Blue Cheese Cranberry Spread (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian)

This has been a long time favorite of my family and friends for a few years now. I may be biased, but I think this spread goes amazingly well with our Onesto Sea Salt crackers! This cheese spread is also pretty tasty smeared on a baguette, broiled and then topped with some prosciutto or left over turkey from your holiday dinner! 

(serves 12-14 generously as an appetizer, takes about 10 minutes to prepare and and additional 30 minutes to chill)

  • 4 ounces of your favorite type of blue cheese (we love Great Hill Blue from Marion, MA)
  • 1 x 8 ounce container of organic cream cheese
  • ¾ cups of raw nuts (walnuts are preferable)
  • ¾ cup organic dried cranberries
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • Lots of freshly grated pepper
  • A good drizzle of local honey
  1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add the nuts and toast until they are fragrant and browning, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t leave the pan, they burn quickly!
  2. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the other ingredients and don’t mash when you stir. Try to fold the ingredients. Taste as you go along to make sure you have enough salt, enough heat from the cayenne and enough sweetness from the honey. Your amounts may vary depending on your preferences.
  4. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving. 
  5. Serve in a beautiful bowl or dish with your favorite Onesto crackers

Easy Cheddar and Gruyere Tarts (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free)

I dare you to try to eat just one. These tarts make my house smell amazing and keep everyone in the kitchen at dinner parties waiting for them to come out of the oven! 

(makes about 12-16 mini tarts, takes about 1 hour to prepare and bake)

For the Tart Pastry: (Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.)

  • 1 tsp raw sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 6 TBSP chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2  large cage-free eggs, beaten to blend
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Whisk sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl.
  3. Add butter in by mixing it in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  4. Drizzle 1 beaten egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together. You will have an easier time manipulating the dough if you let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Don't chill, it is harder to work with. 
  5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (a few dry spots are okay). 
  6. Roll to out to about 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Gently oil mini muffin tins with olive oil or coconut oil.
  8. Using a circular cookie cutter (I recommend one with a 2-3 inch diameter) cut out circles and then carefully place them over the muffin holes. Using your fingers, carefully press them into the molds. 
  9. Using the second beaten egg, brush each tart and PARTIALLY bake for about 6 minutes. 
  10. Set aside to cool and increase the oven to 375 degrees F. 

For the Filling:

  • 2 1/2  cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. container of cream cheese
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
  • ¾ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, diced
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion
  • 2 TBSP fresh thyme, minced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Mix Gruyère, Cheddar, cream cheese, mustard, oregano, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and minced thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until dark brown and caramelized -- about 30 minutes.
  4. Spoon about a TBSP of the cheese mixture into the tart shells
  5. Top with a teaspoon of the caramelized onions. 
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese mixture is bubbly.  
  7. If freezing, let cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and storing in an air tight container. These freeze well for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, let come to room temperature and bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm. 

Assorted Dark Chocolate Truffles (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free Options)

Guilt-free dessert? Check. Easy recipe to follow? Check. Fun for the whole family to make together? Check. This recipe has it all! 

(makes about 30-40 truffles, takes about 20 minutes to prepare and an additional 20-30 minutes to chill)

  • 8 ounces of high quality (dark chocolate 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Optional Toppings:

  • Finely chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, macadamias and pistachios are my favorites!)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Coconut flakes
  • Minced dried cranberries
  • Ground flax meal
  • Crushed peppermint candies (think candy canes)
  • Crushed pretzel pieces (sweet and salty combos are amazing)
  1. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat bring the coconut milk to a simmer (this may take a while, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every few minutes).
  2. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the heated milk over the chocolate, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Slowly mix together until smooth and shiny. (This chocolate base is called a ganache).
  4. Place in the refrigerator for about two hours.
  5. Remove and with a teaspoon roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until firm.
  6. Arrange your toppings in low/shallot plates or bowls. Roll the truffles in the toppings and place back on the parchment paper.
  7. Store the truffles in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months. 

With Love,


Decadent Brownie Bites (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
Vegan Brownie Bites.jpg

As I type this post, I am happily snacking away on these decadent, moist, chocolaty and GUILT-FREE brownie bites (I may even have some chocolate on my face). My kids are my most enthusiastic cheerleaders and can also be my most vocal critics when it comes to taste-testing any new recipes I'm working on. Like most kids, they don't hold anything back! That is why I am so excited to share this recipe with you. It garnered two BIG thumbs up, especially when I topped their brownie bites with our favorite whipped topping: So Delicious Cocowhip

(makes 12 mini muffins and takes about 15 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook)

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 vegan egg substitute (3 TBSP warm water mixed with 1 TBSP ground flax meal, stir and let rest for about 10 minutes, this will resemble the consistency of egg whites)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar 
  • 2 TBSP warm water
  • good drizzle of pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder 
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • optional add ins: 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (I used a silicone mini cupcake pan, but if you are using a regular tin pan, line with paper liners or coat with coconut oil) 
  2. In a large bowl, mash the avocado very well, add the melted coconut oil and egg substitute, mix well getting rid of any lumps or bumps! Add the coconut sugar, warm water, vanilla extract, dark cocoa powder, and sea salt. Mix well. Add the oat flour until just combined, don't over mix. If you are using any of the add ins, fold in now. 
  3. Scoop evenly among the mini muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean. Because they are so moist, the toothpick won't come out completely clean! 
  4. Remove from oven and try to resist eating them before they are completely cooled! 
  5. Eat withing a few days, stored in the fridge in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months. 

With Love,


Vegan Corn Chowder (With a Kick!)

This weekend, we had some wonderful friends over for dinner. They are lucky enough to have family that owns a beach house in Maine, so understandably, we don't see them much over the summer! To celebrate their return to our neighborhood, Jesse planned us a feast and cooked all day on Saturday (in between soccer and flag football games!) I was in charge of dessert: Sneaky Healthy Avocado Brownies with Coconut Whipped Topping (recipe to be posted on another day!). We happen to live across the street from a wonderful family run farm, so our friends offered to bring us some corn. It was tender and sweet and the perfect addition to our late summer meal on our patio. Because they brought so much corn, we had A LOT left over. I decided to make us all a corn chowder for our mid week meals. This recipe is so delicious. It has a slightly spicy kick that is the perfect balance to the corn's natural sweetness. Fully blend the corn and red pepper for a smooth soup or leave some chunky so you really taste that corn. We served ours with a crusty baguette drizzled in olive oil, perfect for dipping in the chowder. 

(serves 6-8 people and can be prepared and cooked in about 30-45 minutes)

  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ears of local corn, husked and shaved off the cob
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • pinch celery salt
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1-2 T nutritional yeast
  • minced chives for garnish
  1. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, red bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn't burn.
  2. Next, add the corn, smoked paprika and celery salt, cook until the corn and bell peppers are tender and the onions are translucent. 
  3. After about 5 minutes, add the white wine vinegar and stir. Taste to see if you need to add more seasoning. 
  4. Add the vegetable broth, stir the veggies and bring to a low boil. Then, lower to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add the coconut milk and nutritional yeast and stir well. 
  6. When done, turn off heat and blend using an immersion blender. If you don't have one, transfer chowder to a blender and blend to your desired consistency. Be careful when blending hot liquids! 
  7. Serve warm with crusty bread and top with minced chives for added color. 

With Love,



We couldn't be more proud to announce to you that as of Monday, September 11, 2017 Onesto crackers are now baked using solar power! It has been a long road, but we finally made it. When we first started Onesto in January of 2014, we had two missions: to create amazing food using REAL, honest ingredients and to do it as eco-minded and socially responsible as possible. 

One of our first decisions was to hire a company that would help us create our packaging in a responsible, green way. From the very beginning, our cracker boxes have been made using 100% wind power and are printed with vegetable dyes (much more sustainable and won't harm the soil when recycled), they are made with 100% recycled cardboard and in turn are 100% recyclable. 

Fast forward to late 2015 and the search for a solar powered facility was on! We cannot say enough about the state of Vermont. We LOVE it there. If we weren't Massachusetts natives, we would definitely be Vermonters! Thankfully, our search led us to the most wonderful team of bakers in a little town in Vermont. After many test runs, tears and (some) profanity, we nailed the baking process and made the switch! And, in the spirit of being eco-minded, our new bakery was a former kombcha's that for re-purposing?! 

We hope that the next time you bite into our crispy, nutty, delicious gluten-free crackers, you will know how much care and thought went into baking them, not just for you but for Mother Earth too! 

With Love,