Highlight of my week

Smitten Kitchen in Salt Lake City

On Tuesday night, this happened.

Deb Perelman was in Salt Lake City for a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook signing!

I got an awkward but happy picture with her. I also bought her book.

Smitten Kitchen in Salt Lake City

I knew there was a reason I’d held out on buying it.

I don’t typically cook from cookbooks anymore, since I follow so many blogs that are publishing beautiful new recipes every day. But this is an obvious exception. I neeeeeded it. Everyone needs it.

Smitten Kitchen in Salt Lake City

Paging through the recipes made me so hungry. I can’t wait to start cooking my way through them ASAP!

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

Sometimes when inspiration strikes, you just have to go with it.

This weekend, I walked in the door from the gym, and out of nowhere, my brain shouted “pumpernickel pancakes!” What? Well, OK.

Unlike Monday’s pasta dish, I didn’t waste any time letting the idea marinate. I rushed out to the store to find some rye flour and caraway seeds, and these pancakes were a reality not long after!

I’m not impatient or anything.

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

Actually, just a few hours before, I had been planning on spending the day skiing. But when we got off the highway, the traffic was so bad that we turned around almost immediately. We got a big snowstorm on Saturday, and so we definitely weren’t the only ones with the idea to get up there on Sunday morning.

I was a little bummed, especially since the exact same thing happened last time I tried to go up :( But on the bright side, I had a whole free morning I hadn’t planned on. First on the agenda was a 4 1/2 mile treadmill run, and then when the inspiration for these pancakes struck, I felt like it was serendipity – I had all the time in the world to make them.

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

I’ve probably told you guys before that I’m not generally a pancake lover. On your average weekend, there are lots of breakfast foods I would choose before pancakes. But when the craving hits, it hits hard, and I guess that’s what happened this Sunday. If you can’t have skiing, you just have to have pancakes, you know?

Whether you’re a pancake, bagel, or savory breakfast person, these fit the bill. With all the other bagel fixin’s, they’re to die for!

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

I think this is the first recipe on this blog that’s not vegetarian (although it certainly could be if you just leave off the lox). And right on the heels of Monday’s recipe using 2 types of cheese, too. Nate is crossing his fingers this is becoming a trend.

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

Let’s talk quickly about the ingredients in here. As I mentioned, rye flour and caraway seeds were the two ingredients I didn’t have on hand and wasn’t sure where to buy. They were also the two ingredients necessary to get the pumpernickel flavor in these pancakes. I used Bob’s Red Mill dark rye flour, which I found in a natural foods supermarket (Sprouts, for anyone local – they have a huge selection of Bob’s Red Mill products!). The caraway seeds were super to easy to find in the spice aisle of my Kroger.

Do you like caraway seeds? I know from my days selling sausage in a German deli (story for another time) that they’re a “you love it or you hate it” ingredient. They are the distinctive flavor in pumpernickel bagels, but you can by all means leave them out of these pancakes if you’re not a fan. I personally like caraway and would probably grind up an additional tablespoon of the seeds to add to these pancakes next time.

Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks | coffeeandquinoa.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpernickel Pancake Stacks
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 9 small pancakes for 3 stacks
For the pancakes:
  • 1/2 cup whole grain rye flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (anything from 0% fat to full fat will work)
For the dill yogurt sauce:
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
For the stacks:
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 oz. smoked salmon (optional)
  1. First, make the pancake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (rye flour through caraway seeds) in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (egg whites through Greek yogurt). Pour wet ingredients on top of the dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Let batter sit for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight. (This will allow the wet ingredients to be absorbed more fully and will give you thicker, fluffier pancakes.)
  2. While the batter sits, prepare the dill yogurt sauce. Whisk together all ingredients (Greek yogurt through salt and pepper). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 and set a baking sheet on a rack in the oven. (You can skip this, but I like to keep my finished pancakes in a warm oven as I go.)
  4. Now cook the pancakes. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add a small drizzle of oil or butter (I used canola oil) and swirl to coat the skillet. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of the pancake batter into the skillet. Cook until bubbles rise in the center of the pancake and edges are firm, then flip and cook until browned on both sides. Place on baking sheet in warm oven. Continue until you've used up all the batter!
  5. To serve, layer pancakes, dill yogurt sauce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, and smoked salmon. Devour!


Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Remember when I didn’t eat cheese for 6 months?


Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Sorry, former vegan self. Sorry but I’m not sorry. I ate a lot of cheese this weekend, and it tasted reeeeally good.

I’ve actually been craving this dish for a few weeks, since a co-worker brought in some buffalo chicken casserole for lunch. As she warmed up her leftovers in the microwave and the smell wafted through the kitchen, it was alllll I wanted.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I had brought a salad.

Major food envy.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I knew I had to recreate it for you guys ASAP. My one hesitation to go out of town last weekend was that I’d have to wait an extra week to bring this dish to life! Such hardships :) Luckily, that gave me an extra week to fantasize and brainstorm… making the end result positively perfect.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Nate agrees. That’s him going back for seconds.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this dish healthy, but it is vegetarian – come on, aren’t those synonymous?! It’s loaded with veggies, replacing 1/2 the pasta and all of the chicken that would be used in a regular buffalo chicken casserole. It’s just cheesy enough to be indulgent, but still loaded with nutrients.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

It’s like a cross between buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, and veggie pasta dish. Also known as…the tastiest thing ever. For real. I don’t think I have to try too hard to convince you on this one.

Guess who’s going to have the jealousy-inducing leftovers for lunch this week?!

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Serves 6


For pasta:

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta

1/2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

sprinkle of ground black pepper

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced (about 5 cups sliced)

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened milk of your choice)

2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided (4-5 oz.)

1/2 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s RedHot

To top:

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

additional hot sauce

1 recipe lightened up blue cheese dressing


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook pasta in a large pot until slightly al dente. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.

Next, saute your vegetables. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic, onion, and carrots, season with ground pepper, and saute until soft, 9-10 minutes. (The carrots will not soften up much in the oven, so you want to get them to your desired softness on the stovetop.) Add the mushrooms and saute 3 minutes more, then add the Brussels sprouts and saute another 2 minutes. Pour vegetables into the pot with the pasta and scrape pan clean.

Now prepare the roux. In the same pan, melt the butter. Stir in flour and let bubble 1-2 minutes. Stir in the milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir to melt. Stir in hot sauce. Pour the mixture over the pasta and vegetables and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. (If cheese starts to burn before 25 minutes, cover the top of the dish with tin foil and continue baking.)

Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onions. Serve in scoops, topped with additional hot sauce and blue cheese dressing.



1 hour

Friday Favorites

Zion National Park

Breeeeeathe out. It’s Friday.

Thank goodness. It’s been a whirlwind of a week, and I am sooo ready for a weekend of kicking back, sleeping in, and concocting some new recipes! No 6 AM treadmill workouts, no stressful presentations, just me in my slippers making a big ol’ mess in my kitchen. Yessss please.

In the meantime, here are some of the things I’ve been loving this week.

Penner-Ash Pinot Noir

1. This Penner-Ash pinot noir. Penner-Ash was one of the wineries we visited in October, and Nate got us this bottle for Valentine’s Day! It was deeeeelicious.

2. Susan Cain’s TED talk on the power of introverts. In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. I heard this on NPR the other morning and identified with it so much!

3. These roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato quinoa bowls from one of my new favorite blogs, A Farmer in the Dell. (How awesome is she?!) I made these twice this week!

Sweet Potatoes

4. Sweet potatoes every which way, in fact. I’m really wanting to make this stuffed curry sweet potato and these stuffed sweet potatoes with white beans and kale.

5. Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I got these for Nate for Valentine’s Day, and I think he’s managed to eat 1. The container is almost empty. Oops.

6. Flossing. Random, right? But a good thing, given the peanut butter cups. I used to be much better at flossing, but I’m embarrassed to say how long it’s been since I flossed regularly. Back on the wagon!

7. Getting nominated for Employee of the Year at work. On Tuesday I had to give a presentation to our executive team on why I deserve to win, and it was NERVE-RACKING. (See number 2…) The winner gets a week-long trip for 2 to anywhere in the world paid for! We find out the winner in about a month – eek!

8. This vegan bouillabaisse from Post Punk Kitchen. How good does that look?! I really need to make a few more soups before winter ends…

9. Thrift Shop by Macklemore. Am I behind the times? I’m finding this song so hilarious.

10. Coconut butter in my morning oatmeal. Mmmmmm.

Well that’s all for now. Enjoy your weekend! Recipes coming up next week, promise :)

Weekend in Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Things have been a little quiet around here lately… sorry about that.

Zion National Park

You already know one of my excuses: I had no time for cooking because Nate and I took a last-minute trip to Zion National Park over the weekend. Also, work has been busy, and so even though I wanted to share my trip to Zion with you earlier, I didn’t have time. Sorryyyy.

But better late than never. Here are some pictures from the weekend! Naturally, I brought my DSLR, but didn’t even take it out of the case once. Oops. The iPhone is just so much more convenient for hiking, you know? I’m sure my hiking pictures would be much better had I used my nice camera, but I’m also sure that I would have either a) dropped it off the side of a canyon or b) fallen off the side of a canyon myself while trying to rescue my camera. So let’s just save the DSLR for food, shall we?

Zion National Park

Last week Nate suggested that we head down to southern Utah, since he had a long weekend and we were both so sick of the cold. I said yes on one condition – no camping! We tried to camp down in Moab last March, but I panicked as soon as the sun set and the temperature dropped, and ended up sleeping in my friends’ hotel room. Huge wimp right here – no winter camping for me! So this time he made us a last-minute hotel reservation, and on Friday night we made the 4 1/2 hour drive from Salt Lake down to Zion.

We arrived in the dark (pretty sketchy!) and couldn’t wait to wake up and see the park in the light. We were not disappointed – here’s the view we woke up to on Saturday morning:

Zion National Park

We stayed at the Zion Lodge, the only hotel in the park, which was pretty ideal. The park is small, and the hotel was centrally located; we even walked from the hotel to the trailhead for one of our hikes.

Zion National Park

On Saturday morning we decided to hike the Angel’s Landing trail. We’ve been hearing about this hike since we moved to Utah, so naturally it was the first thing to check off our list. But part of the reason we’d heard of it is that parts of the trail have long drop-offs and chains to hang on to… possibly not the greatest wintertime route. But the woman at the visitors’ center said we should be fine, so off we went!

Zion National Park

You can’t tell here, but a lot of the trail was very icy, and it was also very crowded. Nice weather on President’s Day weekend made for a lot of hiking company! We would have preferred some more solitude, but the views at the top were pretty spectacular anyway:

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Happy hikers!

Zion National Park

After snapping a few pictures at the top, we spent much of the way down hanging onto the chains for dear life and hoping no one else would slide into us and topple us off the mountain. I was glad to get down off that icy part!

Zion National Park

After a day of hiking and a trail run (admittedly a pretty wimpy one), I was feeling extremely grimy. The main benefit of not camping: Showers! I made Nate take a picture of me before dinner to prove that I only spent most of the weekend in sweaty hiking clothes.

Zion National Park

Speaking of dinner, no pictures of food here. The food was definitely not the highlight of the trip. I guess that’s pretty common for outdoorsy destination towns. That’s OK – the natural beauty of the park more than made up for it. Here was our drive to dinner:

Zion National Park

This sunset was so beautiful. There was a line of photographers on a bridge as we were driving out of the park, just waiting to capture the beautiful light on the red rock. We didn’t want to act like tourists, but a few minutes afterwards I gave in and made Nate pull over so I could take a few iPhone photos. :)

Zion National Park

On Sunday we got an earlier start to avoid the crowds (and also to be able to make the drive home in the daylight). It paid off – we had a BEAUTIFUL hike up to Observation Point, and only saw 1 other hiker on the way up!

Zion National Park

We got a great workout, had amazing views of the park, and at times there was complete silence – an unbelievable day of hiking.

Observation Point is higher than Angel’s Landing and looks down onto it. It was cool to have done Angel’s Landing the first day and then be able to see where we had been (especially because we were higher up!).

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

The Observation Point hike was a little icy in parts, but unlike Angel’s Landing, there were no chains we had to hang onto… so it was much less treacherous. It was still slow going on the way down, especially since I can’t bear the thought of slipping and had to inch my way along whole sections.

Zion National Park

I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with Nate (super-marathoner) on our hikes. Well, “keeping up” – he let me set the pace, and the one time I let him lead, he put 10 yards on me in about 5 seconds. Oh well, what did I really expect? But I do think we were good hiking partners. We did the 8 mile Observation Point hike on Sunday in 3 hours and 40 minutes, including stopping at the top and going veeeeery slowly on the icy patches on the way down. Go us!

Looking at these pictures is making me wish we were headed back down there this weekend. No such luck, unfortunately. But on the bright side, that means I’ll be in the kitchen, and we’ll get back to the recipe posts next week!

Hope your week is going well!

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