Breakfast Pumpkin Polenta

Think outside the gluten free cereal box.


breakfast pumpkin polenta

breakfast pumpkin polenta photo by vsimon

In a jiffy, stir up some steamy delish-ish-ness.  

You can also make a bigger batch and keep it in the fridge for a few days. It will thicken over time, just add some water to thin. Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Breakfast Pumpkin Polenta

serves 1 metric measures
1/4 cup cornmeal 35 gm
1 cup water 240 ml
¼ cup pumpkin 60 gm
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar 8 gm

Dried cranberries and walnuts to garnish.

Mix cornmeal and water in a saucepan. Traditional polenta recipes say to bring the water to a boil, and carefully whisk in the cornmeal. Don’t do that, you are sure to get lumps.

Completely stir the cornmeal into the water BEFORE you turn on the heat.

Add pumpkin to the mix.

Bring to a simmer, stir constantly. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Guaranteed- no lumps!

You can read the morning paper as you stir if you must multi task.

Put into serving bowl. Top with dark brown sugar, dried cranberries, and walnuts. How often do you garnish your breakfast? I do it every time I have some version of cereal. I like the extra texture and flavor.

Appreciation for inspiration for this simple delight goes to Jes at VeganMofo III. Check out her post for more up line credits. Jes shared her version in the Go Ahead Honey, It is Gluten Free pumpkin issue at Life, Gluten Free.

Cranberry Carrot Salad with Lemon and Honey

carrot-salad (14) 

cranberry carrot salad photo by vsimon

Do you need a super quick crunchy salad? Perfect for dinner, or a brown bag lunch?

The simplest recipes are often the best. If you are short on time and just want the recipe, skip the middle and go to the bottom of the post. That is the simplest way. You could be eating this in five minutes.

But keep reading if you want info on the ingredients.


If you buy shredded carrots, this mixes up in just a few minutes. Sweet, tart, and lively lemon flavor.

I like to keep a bag on hand. They hold up well, and are easy additions to soups, green salads, and even muffins.

Organic carrots

We can get shredded organic carrots in our market. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website publishes a list of produce that has the highest, and lowest levels of pesticides.

The Dirty Dozen is the most likely to have high levels, and EWG recommends you by these items organic. EWG also publishes the Clean 15, produce that is least likely to have high pesticide levels. Buying organic doesn’t matter so much here.

You can print a wallet sized reference to take with you to the store. Carrots are #11 on the Dirty Dozen list.


Does a cranberry a day keep the doctor away? No, you probably need to eat  more than one. But a serving a day offers many health benefits.


I like to use organic lemons because I am using the outside, the part that would be sprayed with pesticides. Organic lemons are smaller than regular lemons, so you might need two here.

Also, organic lemons are not waxed. According the The World’s Healthiest Foods web site, sometimes the wax is mixed with casein, a protein in milk. This would be a very low amount, but might be important to know if you have a severe milk allergy.

Lemon Zest

At my house, if a dish has fresh lemon juice, it has zest too.  I never miss the happy opportunity to inhale the fresh scent of lemon zest. You can smell it across the room, but it is even better right under your nose.

A microplane makes swift work of zesting the peel. Personally, I don’t measure the zest and use all of it, from the whole lemon. As you probably can guess, I can’t get too much lemon zest.

If you are using a different tool to zest, be sure to catch just the outer yellow rind. The white pith is unpleasantly bitter.

Cranberry Carrot Salad

serves 4 metric measures
4 cups shredded carrots 360 gm
½ cup dried cranberries 75 gm
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 45 ml
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest weightless?
2 tablespoons honey 30 ml

Stir it all together until it glistens.

Serve right away if you like chewy cranberries.

Store in the fridge and serve the next day if you like plump, soft cranberries.

BTW, lemon juice is a good source of citrate. Helpful to prevent kidney stones. Maybe a lemon a day keeps the doctor away too.

PS I am changing the subject now. This is so cool! Bon Appetit magazine is holding a blogger Holiday Bake-Off. I have entered Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy. Wouldn’t you love to see a gluten free, dairy free winner?

There are several categories, including cakes, pies, custards, cookies, more. If you are a blogger, add your creations at BA Holiday Bake-Off.

Everyone can vote for your favorite in each category. I would be honored to receive your vote.

Cranberry Potato Kidney Bean Salad

cranberry potato salad(3)

 cranberry potato and kidney bean salad photo by vsimon

In our big backyard garden, we grew cranberry potatoes. They are red skinned with pinkish flesh. I thought, what could we do with potatoes? Potato salad! And since it’s chilly outside, warm potato salad!

I had made Garlicky Green Bean and Potato Salad this summer and liked it so much, I thought what can I do to expand on that recipe? How can I showcase cranberry potatoes?  What could I change in the recipe to make it unique and delicious?

Dried cranberries, red onions, rosemary,  kidney beans!

The potatoes and kidney beans are smooth and creamy. The dried cranberries are chewy and sweet. The red onion is red and crisp. The vinegar is tangy. The rosemary is fragrant and flavorful. It is all good.

The cranberry potatoes we dug for this recipe are only slightly pink. Sometimes the flesh is very pink. Cranberry potatoes taste just like regular red skinned potatoes with white flesh. So buy whatever kind the store has, any red skinned potato will work here.

This recipe is simple, all you need to cook is the potatoes. They are 3 minutes quick in a pressure cooker. Or about 15 minutes on the stovetop.

cranberry potato salad

close up photo by vsimon

Cranberry Potato Kidney Bean Salad

Serves 4-6 metric measures
1 pound red potatoes, diced 480 gm
¼ cup dried cranberries 40 gm
¼ cup diced red onion 30 gm
1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 450 gm
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 90 ml
2 tablespoons olive oil 30 ml
2 tablespoons potato water 30 ml
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 5 gm
Salt and pepper to taste  

Dice potatoes and cook until tender. Cook on the stovetop covered with water for about 15 minutes. Or in a pressure cooker with 1/2 cup water for 3 minutes.

Drain potatoes, reserving some of the water. Cool a bit. Put into a large bowl with dried cranberries, onion, and kidney beans.

Whisk together vinegar, oil, potato water, and rosemary. Toss with the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This is lovely served warm on a chilly day. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary if you have it.


cranberry potato salad(2)

pink cranberry potato and kidney bean salad photo by vsimon

What is your favorite potato salad?