Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Emersyn's first birthday

Well, I'm practically not a blogger anymore, ha.  But one of these days perhaps I'll start up again on a more consistent basis.  For now ... a little recap of our sweet little girl's first birthday.  It's hard to believe how fast time has gone by and how big she has gotten.

I wanted to keep things simple while using up some of my garden bounty so I made a few appetizers inspired from Pinterest.

First up, caprese kabobs featuring cherry tomatoes sliced and topped with basil and mozzarella cheese sitting in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Next, toast bites which consisted of petite toasts topped with spreadable cream cheese, arugala, chives, salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil.

Next up, I utilized some of my many zucchini by slicing it up and topping it with sun dried tomatoes, green onion, feta cheese, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Along with that, I had some hummus and pita chips, chocolate chip cookies and of course … cake!
All were very tasty!

Next up ... the infamous smash cake! She didn't love solids for awhile so I wasn't sure how she would take to her "smash cake" but it turns out it was a big hit! I used a recipe inspired from here which had no added sugar sweetened with bananas and apple sauce.  The frosting simple consisted of cream cheese and apple juice concentrate.

Like I said ... Emy loved it, lol.

It was a very blessed day for sure! Happy 1st birthday, Emy!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chocolate chip zucchini bread

It's the time of year for garden bounty!! So far in surplus I have zucchini. Lots and lots of zucchini. Giant zucchini and small zucchini. Straight zucchini and crooked zucchini. And what do you do with zucchini that's gotten huge in the garden? Make bread, of course!!

With chocolate chips thrown in. You know, for good measure.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread

- 3 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups cane sugar
- 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Heat oven at 350 degrees
2. In large mixing bowl stir together wet ingredients: zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs
3. Add dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
4. Divide batter between two 8 inch loaf pans
5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean 
6. Let cool completely before digging in

Eaten best with a large glass of milk. Yum yum!

Happy zucchini'ing!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Raw blueberry pie (with video)


This past Monday was National Blueberry Pie Day and I got invited onto Kansas City Live to help celebrate with my raw blueberry pie.  I hadn’t made this or blogged about it in over a year so I thought it was time for an updated post about it with better pictures! So here we are. Recipe complete with the Kansas City Live video.  Enjoy!

raw blueberry pie 2 raw blueberry pie


As I said in the segment, this is a great spring and summer pie because it’s no bake, refreshing and so simple to whip up.Thanks for having me, Kansas City Live, it was a lot of fun!

raw blueberry pie 3

Raw Blueberry Pie

- 1 cup natural almonds
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (may need to add a little more depending on the wetness of your dates)
- Pinch of salt


- 2 cups frozen blueberries (helps if they’re slightly thawed)
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey (honey tends to be sweeter so use less)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- Pinch of salt

- Blend (or finely chop) almonds, coconut and dates one by one then mix together along with coconut oil and salt. Flatten into 9 inch pie pan.

-Place all ingredients into high powered blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Pour over crust and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

raw blueberry pie 4


Monday, April 21, 2014

il Lazzarone: What to expect


Now that the restaurant announcement has been made, here’s some things you can expect from an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria and more specifically, what to expect from il Lazzarone!

At il Lazzarone, our wood fired oven is an Acunto Mario, made on the main street of Naples, Italy by a fifth generation oven builder. Why this oven? For true Neapolitan pizza you must have a wood fired oven capable of achieving over 800 degrees constant temperatures. The mouth of the oven and the oven dome height must all be constructed within specific ratios to achieve a true pizza Napoletana. Our oven is constructed of all hand laid brick made from the soils of the Campania region of Italy. In our opinion, there is absolutely no oven in the world capable of producing a better product. We are very lucky to have received the first one imported into America.

a pizza oven

Neapolitan pies are traditionally 11 inches round. For an average appetite, you'll likely want one pie per person.

Cook Time
Due to the extreme temperatures and the craftsmanship of the oven, the pizza will cook between 50-90 seconds.

a pizza time

Less is more. A good Neapolitan pie is minimally topped with the freshest natural ingredients to strike the perfect ratio of flavor.

  • Dough: the dough is made simply of water, flour, yeast and salt with no added preservatives or additives
  • Sauce: San Marzano tomatoes are a very rare tomato native to Italy. At il Lazzarone, we use only DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes which insures the tomatoes have been grown in a specific historical region outside of Naples. The magic of the San Marzano comes from the soil which they are grown in. These specific tomatoes are considered the richest and sweetest in the world and are grown around the base of Mt. Vesuvius in a soil extremely rich in minerals. This very soil is where the material for the oven is harvested and made into bricks for our oven’s hearth and dome, creating a symbiotic relationship between ingredient and oven.
  • Flour: Our flour is a 00 flour which holds an 11.2% protein ratio. This 00 flour refers to the size of the mill. 00 is the finest mill on earth and creates a soft silky crust. 00 grade flour is also a requirement for true Neapolitan pizza.
  • Cheese: For our cheese, we hold true to Neapolitan standards as well using only fior de late (fresh mozzarella) or mozzarella de bufala. All of or cheese hold true to the artisan roots of old and are completely hormone free.

a pizza picture a pizza pic 3

Also due to the high temperature cook time, the crust has a slight charring on bottom and edges characteristic to Neapolitan pizza giving it another depth of flavor and texture.

pizza char 2 pizza char 3pizza char 4 pizza char

Wet or Soupy
Unlike typical American pizza, a delicious pool of flavor forms in the middle of a Neapolitan pie during its short time in the oven making it  what one might call wet or "soupy".

Knife and Fork
As to not disrupt the "soupy" middle (thereby making the crust soggy on the way to the table) these pies are meant to be served whole, uncut, and eaten with a knife and fork.

Organic/All Natural
At il Lazzarone, we're passionate about authentic real food therefore our ingredients are organic and all natural incorporating both local ingredients with special authentic Italian imported items. Our cheese is always rBgh free and our meats are antibiotic and hormone free.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Til the Easter season!

I haven’t found my way to The Purple Carrot in far too long and after making this carrot cake a few days ago, I knew it was the perfect thing to share. We found it to be extremely moist and delicious! I’ve been doing a lot of juicing lately as well and I never know what to do with all that pulp. 

Enter: a great way to use up pulp from juicing carrots!

a carrot cakea carrot cake4

Moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (makes one 9x13 inch pan or two 9 inch cake pans)
*adapted from All Recipes


  • Carrot cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspooons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots (I used the pulp from juicing carrots, works great!)
  • Cream Cheese frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounce cream cheese softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla – I ended up using almond because I was out of vanilla and ended up loving the flavor with this cake)



  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees and grease two 9 inch cake pans or one 9x13 inch pan
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla and milk
  3. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
  4. Stir in carrots
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean


  1. Combine all ingredients and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy.

a carrot cake2

Nom, nom, nom!

Happy Easter, all Smile


Sunday, March 2, 2014

il Lazzarone

If you keep up with The Purple Carrot on Facebook or Instagram, the following is not new to you but if not, guess what?


Yep, this is happening! For years now Erik has been toying with opening a pizza place and even almost bought a building in Kansas City a little over a year ago when we lived there but it just never quite worked out. Fast forward through our move back to St Joe, our house remodel (which is still in the works even though we live there now), a new precious baby aaaand here we are!

This niche restaurant will be an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria called il Lazzarone. (I know, I'm sure the concept is shocking after how little we talk about pizza around here ;) It's not like we road tripped around the US just to eat pizza or anything).

Il Lazzarone: What is the meaning of il Lazzarone, you ask?

There is a lot in our name. The name represents not only a class of people but a way of life. Pizza started out as a peasant food. The il lazzarone or lazzaroni was seen to be this peasant class of people in Naples originating around 1770. Though the lazzarone were poor, they were known for living completely free, content, satisfied. The lazzarone avoided the rat race. They worked but they laughed. They worked but they rested. They worked but they stopped and ate… frequently. The only thing a lazzarone would eat was pizza and melon (accompanied of course by wine). They loved life, they lived freely, and most of all, they seized the moment.

That is what we wish to offer and convey. Come seize the moment, put your day on hold if just for 30 minutes, and come. Come to the table were you can experience both art and authenticity through food, wine and atmosphere.

il Lazzarone will be opening at 1628 Frederick Avenue in Saint Joseph, Missouri.

We’re currently making progress on the work that needs to be completed on the inside and our Acunto oven is on its way here from Naples. Tentatively, we’ll be opening Spring 2014.

Follow along
Follow along with our building progress and updates via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Coming up
Coming up soon is a post on what you can expect to find at il Lazzarone!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Apple cinnamon muffins

I seem to be on a pretty good baking spree lately, much to the delight of my husband (okay, and myself, ha). We had a lot of apples in the fridge and I was looking to make a “breakfast” item so these babies were the natural progression. And we loved them. Perfect for a quick breakfast treat, snack during the day or dessert after dinner!

apple cinnamon muffins3

Apple cinnamon muffins with simple sugar glaze
Adapted from Add a Pinch
*makes about a dozen (I was able to get a few more than a dozen)


  • For muffins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (+ 2 teaspoons for coating apples)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • For glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-6 tablespoons milk or other liquid (depending on how quick you’d like it)


  • For muffins
  • Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. Coat muffin or cupcake pans to prevent sticking or line with cupcake liners.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Toss together diced apples and 2 teaspoons of flour to coat apples in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add an egg, one at a time and then the vanilla.
  • Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until just combined. Fold in diced apples.
  • Scoop mixture into prepared pans, filling them about 3/4 cup full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • For glaze
  • Stir together powdered sugar and liquid until glaze is formed. Add more powdered sugar or liquid to desired consistency.

*Note: batter will be pretty thick

apple cinnamon muffins

apple cinnamon muffins2



Monday, February 10, 2014

Strawberry layer cake & mini red velvet whoopie pies

A bit overdue for a new blog post!

Winter is in full bloom here in the Midwest with cold weather and snow blanketed yards. Emersyn turned five months old on the 1st and we're getting more and more settled into our new place. Ive had many goodies that I've meant to share and have even taken photos but the actual sharing part is what I've had some troubles with ha.

So in light of Valentine's Day and the month of February, here's a few "red" goodies I've tried lately that we've gobbled right up. First, a strawberry layer cake via The Little Epicurean. Recipe can be found here. We really liked this cake.  It was light, fresh and delicious! A perfect Valentine’s Day treat.


And next up, red velvet whoopie pies! These are colored all naturally with beets and adapted from Baking a Moment. Erik’s work was having a cookie contest at work with the criteria being red cookies that were under 100 calories so I went with mini pies!  Each of these whoopie pies are approximately 50 calories each and about an inch round.  They’re also very addictive … yum!


Mini Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
**makes approximately 50 pies about an inch round


  • Cakes:
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3/4 cup beet puree (I roasted two beets in the oven at 400 degrees for 60 minutes then peeled and pureed)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Cakes:
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, and then mix in the egg yolk.
  3. Add in the beet puree, milk, lemon juice, vinegar, vanilla, and combine.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until fluffy and stiff. Fold the egg white into the cake batter.
  6. Drop approx 100 scoops of batter (about the size of a quarter) onto lined baking sheets, and bake at 375 degrees, for 7 minutes. Cool completely, and fill with fluffy cream cheese filling.
  7. Filling:
  8. Whip all the filling ingredients together until fluffy.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Door to Door Organics

One thing about living in St Joe versus Kansas City that is the hardest for us is ... food! Not only do we miss our favorite spots (Quay Coffee, Westside Local, Little Freshie, etc) but there's not an over abundance of fresh local and organic foods for groceries. We are thankful for the options Hyvee has but so often, I've found their organic produce to be lacking in quality and variety. Along with that, I love being able to purchase local products, especially meat and eggs, which our Hyvee doesn't offer.

We've gotten Door to Door over the years sporadically but for whatever reason, had stopped getting it for a few years while living in KC. Once we came back to St Joe, however, I almost immediately signed up again because we could no longer just swing by Badseed on a friday night, etc. After tagging them in an Instagram post of Emersyn hanging out with these awesomely huge rainbow carrots I got in my box one week …
… I got an email asking me if I'd be interested in reviewing them. I don't really do many reviews on The Purple Carrot these days but this is one company I really do appreciate and love to share!

What Is It?

Door to Door Kansas City delivers fresh organic/natural local produce and food products right to your door in the KC and surrounding areas.
Door to Door Organics 2
How It Works

Each order starts with a produce box that you chose and customize.
You can make 5 substitutions to your weekly (or biweekly) box and shop their whole selection of vegetables and fruit. Their produce is always USDA Certified Organic and sourced locally whenever possible.
After that, you can shop through their ever growing selection of pantry staples. They have a variety of farm-fresh milk, free-range eggs, gourmet cheese, humanely raised meats, sustainably fished seafood, and artisan breads - to name a few.
One of my favorite features is that you can put your order on hold anytime you want for as long as needed so there's no weekly or monthly commitment if, for some reason, you need to take a break from receiving it.
Door to Door Organics
Door to Door Organics 7

I snapped some photos of some of the past couple weeks boxes for some examples.

We get the majority of our groceries through them and they always seem to be growing and improving their selections. They also do a great job of keeping everything cold via their packaging even if it be frozen meat or milk.
Door to Door Organics 6Door to Door Organics 5Door to Door Organics 3 Door to Door Organics 4
Their prices are overall very reasonable and in line with most healthfood stores and I've always been impressed with the quality. Less than a handful of times have I had to contact them with any problems with an order and each time they were quick to happily fix it. I highly suggest giving them a try! I mean, who doesn't want to skip the store and come home to their groceries sitting at your doorstep? Yeah. Visit their website for more details and to check out what all they have to offer! And give them a try!

***Enter the word "purple" at checkout on your first order and receive a $10 discount!***

PS: Dear D2D, please add Oddly Correct coffee, Little Freshie pops, meat from Local Pig, aaaand Kalona SuperNatural milk to your selections. Thank you ;)

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