about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Al Fresco.

Now that we’re in our new space, we’re taking full advantage of the backyard we wished for for so long.  Days are spent covering the deck and driveway in sidewalk chalk, splashing in the mini whale pool, and collecting rocks to fill up the dump truck.

Evenings are spent enjoying family dinners – most recently, outside!  Family dinners aren’t something we’re really in the habit of, as Casey old commute got him home far past Cullen’s dinnertime.  So I used to feed Cullen one meal, and then I’d just be starting to figure out what Casey and I were going to eat after C’s 7:30 bedtime.  It led to a lot of late meals and lack of creativity.

Now that Casey is getting home earlier and the sun is shining for so much longer, we’re able to enjoy meals as a family – such a treat!  I’ve been dragging Cullen’s high chair out to the back deck and Casey and I have been relaxing on the patio furniture. 

We’re still settling in and getting into a rhythm here, but I thought I’d share a few recent meals we threw together.

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First up – summery millet salad, cheesy baked kale, and simple sautéed portabellas. 

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I cooked the millet in the rice cooker, and then just tossed it with some fresh cherry tomatoes and arugula.  Perfect for summer.  I dressed the whole salad in a mixture of olive oil, orange champagne vinegar, salt, and a hint of maple syrup.  It was delicious, and reminded me I need to cook millet more often.

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The mushrooms were just sliced portabellas that I cooked on high heat to brown and wilt down.  Salt is key here.  I’m still adjusting to my new electric cooktop.  I feel like I can’t get the same browning and high heat effects that I used to, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out with more practice. 

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Lastly, I tossed a bag of kale with olive oil and nutritional yeast (and a heavy sprinkle of salt!), and popped it in the oven for about 15 minutes on 375 heat.  I’m still not really loving greens at this point in pregnancy, but I’m trying to be better about forcing myself to eat them.  They are so good for you!

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Watermelon for dessert every night.  Always a hit. 

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Dinner number two felt like the essence of summer.  All that was missing was a big pile of sliced tomatoes, but those haven’t quite made it to the Seattle markets just yet.  Soon, I hope!

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Simple sautéed tofu with barbecue sauce added in the last few minutes.  This is a summertime favorite in our house! 

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Baked potato.  Enough said.  My friend Nicki turned my onto Straus Family Creamery’s Greek yogurt, and it has since become my new favorite potato topping.  I load it on there with lots of salt, and rub the potato skin with lots of olive oil to get it crispy in the oven.  Perfection. 

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Corn on the cob.  Yum.

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Dinner is served!

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So that’s what we’ve been enjoying out in the backyard the past two nights.  We might be a bit behind, but summer has finally arrived here in Seattle, and we are soaking it all up.  The farmer’s markets are just getting better and better, and hopefully our meals will follow suit.   

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66 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Kelly     at 8:52 pm

Hey Emily!
Congrats on your new house. I was just going to say that I hated my electric. It was super easy to convert to gas and cheaper in the long run, so if you’re wishing you might want gas, might be worth the convert! Enjoy!

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Katie Reply:

We are currently renting a house with an electric stove (the first time I’ve lived with one ever), and even after a year of fussing with it daily I still can’t really get the hang of cooking on it. We catch things on fire on a weekly basis and there is almost no way to use a large cast iron on it (for some reason it smokes in a way that never happened on gas). I would convert to gas in a heartbeat if it was my house!

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Leah Reply:

We had no trouble for 13 years with an electric glass top cooktop. Even with our cast iron pans. I have a lot of trouble with the coil style stove at our vacation home–but it’s also used by renters so I just go ahead and suffer through it. Daily use electric–glass is way better if you use Le Cruset pans. That’s for sure!

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Emily Malone Reply:

At least it’s not just me! So much SMOKE – it’s so weird!

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Ella     at 9:04 pm

your kid is such a champion eater! Has he gone through picky phases at all? After a pretty good start with solids, my son has been extremely picky from 12 months until now (16 months). He is finally starting to open up a little more and try more things. And I’m a dietitian! Would love to hear any tips. Do you let him go a little hungry if he doesn’t want to eat what’s in front of him?

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Sophia Reply:

Ella – while I am no mum myself yet I once asked my mother how she got me and my three siblings to eat along with her and dad from a pretty young age onwards. And her response was that sometimes moving dinner time backwards by a bit helped (the hunger ‘forced’ us to eat things we otherwise wouldn’t have eaten), vegetables were often more palatable if cheese or bechamel was involved (we loved pasta bakes) and sometimes you just have to indulge your child’s pickiness if they won’t eat otherwise (my sister went through a phase of only eating red foods so everything came to the table smothered in homemade marinara – it worked and she quickly outgrew that phase). In short, there is probably no simple answer and each child is different.

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Emily Malone Reply:

When all else fails we smother everything in hummus. :)

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Leah Reply:

ha! Good idea. Mmmm.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh don’t be fooled. He is super picky. :) Rejects MOST things he is offered. I do let him go hungry if he won’t eat SOME variation of what I offer. I figure if he’s hungry enough, he’ll eventually eat. Usually I offer to sort of transform whatever is being offered by dipping in hummus, BBQ sauce, ketchup, etc. It’s tough though!

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Meagan     at 9:06 pm

You make potatoes look soo good! Delish!

And I completely agree about Strauss. I have been SUCH A HUGE fan of their yogurt and company after I discovered them when living in SoCal. Now that I am in Seattle I am so happy to discover that their products are up here too. :) And just last week I found the GREEK style (which IS very hard to find) at PCC. So now I’m ALLL set!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, the Greek seems to only be at PCC (not WF). Love it!

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Shel@PeachyPalate     at 10:35 pm

Can I come for dinner ? :) Love getting to eat outside and just be outside without multiple layers in general. We’re finally getting some warm weather here in Ireland! Can’t wait to see more of the new house! :)

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life     at 10:58 pm

Farrmer’s markets are definitely such a highlight in the summer for us. But I love going out to my own tiny garden as well and grabbing a fresh tomato or cucumber to add to a salad even more. Makes me so happy.

Glad y’all are loving and enjoying your new backyard so much.

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Liz     at 3:26 am

These longer summer days have been SO nice! We don’t have any outdoor space where we live, but I’ve been biking after work and taking advantage of the growing summer vegetable selection (also, your millet plate looks especially delicious!).

Does Casey ever bike to and from work now that you’re not so far away? Now that we have more sun, it’s the nicest feeling to ride outside after sitting at a desk all day!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Not yet, but we’ve mapped out the route. He was traveling the first week we were here, so last week was really his first week even doing the new commute by bus. Our bikes are still buried in the pile of boxes in the garage, but hoping to dig them out soon!

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 3:36 am

Looks great, Emily. We really need to start eating our meals together as a family. I just can’t get used to eating so early in the evenings! But these are some great ideas. Don’t know if Ada would eat them (grrrrr) but worth a try!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yeah it’s definitely an adjustment, and it doesn’t happen every night but I’m trying!

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 3:58 am

Ahhh that baked potato! Something about a baked potato is so comforting. Love that you are enjoying your new house :)

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 4:47 am

We just signed up for a CSA… so right now I have more greens than I know what to do with! I love eating outside in the summer :)

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Leslie     at 4:49 am

Any recommendations for barbeque sauce?

Also, are there mosquitoes out there? They keep us from enjoying a good meal outside in North Carolina :(

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Leah Reply:

Sweet Baby Ray’s is great and Trader Joe’s. I could not help but chime in (we had this whole discussion with family a few days ago).

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Emily Malone Reply:

I like Trader Joe’s sauce!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Also, nope – NO mosquitoes out here! I was just commenting on that last night to Casey. Makes such a huge difference. We used to live in Charlotte, and I remember being forced inside often for the same reason.

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Kris     at 5:10 am

I’m watching your weather closely since I will be bringing my mom to Seattle for a medical procedure in a couple of weeks. I’m in FL, so I’m trying to figure out what to pack (used to similar to Seattle weather when we lived in Stuttgart, Germany).

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Emily Malone Reply:

Layers! :)

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Krista     at 5:19 am

Than you so much for sharing some of your everyday dinner fare. I love inspiration for simple balanced menus. Have not yet tried baked potato and greek yogurt with my kiddos – they will be in heaven.

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Melissa     at 5:21 am

Your meal blogs always inspire me for food ideas! BBQ tofu? Yes, please! So simple, but yet that never crosses my mind when I see the wet soggy block of white in the grocery store ;) Will have to give that a try along with the nutritional yeast & kale. =) Thanks for sharing!

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Tricia     at 5:37 am

How do you clean the straw in your Zoli cup? Mine need to be cleaned and I can’t seem to find a good solution other than replacing the straw.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I sort of milk it like a cow. But they also sell a straw cleaner that works well!

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Kate     at 5:52 am

I have a glass cooktop too — HATE IT!!! But you might try cooking in a cast iron skillet. It brought my meals back to life. Nothing cooks like a gas range (or grill)!!

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Leah Reply:

Must depend on the brand. Ours was Amana (glass cook top) and we loved it for 13 years (even with cast iron). The coil ones are horrible though (burned a quesadilla while away this past weekend).

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Caitlin     at 5:52 am

One of the many reasons I love your blog is the simple recipes and combos you post that even the busiest of us can throw together for a nutritious week night meal!

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 6:33 am

All those meals look wonderful! My husband hates eating outside but I love it.

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Grammie2maddie     at 6:49 am

Em

Thanks for going back to posting your meals! I take so many food cues from you, and lots of inspiration…even your simple meals inspire me to get out of my rut!

Thank you again. Please keep them coming!

Just one question – why don’t you use a tofu press instead of books?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I use a tofu press now. :)

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Becky     at 6:54 am

Do you have any sort of recipe for the dressing for this millet salad? I’m so bad at just throwing those together. I can’t seem to get each ingredient amount correct. Everything looks delicious!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I didn’t measure – I’m sorry!

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Jen     at 7:04 am

LOVE! Jeff gets home after Wyatt’s bedtime so we’ve been enjoying breakfast al fresco. It is such a treat!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Casey is going to work later in the mornings, so we are doing this too. Such a great way to start the day!

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Amy     at 7:05 am

Those dinners look fantastic! I am 12 weeks pregnant and have slipped into unhealthier eating (hubby and I used to have a primarily vegetarian diet)but with food aversions and morning sickness I was just trying to eat what I could handle. Now I feeling better and need to kick start my healthy eating again. Are these recipes posted on your site? If not, could you post more detailed directions? I am SUPER inadequate in the kitchen and thankfully hubby cooks but pretty soon I need to figure it out so I am not a completely incompetent mom! Thanks and loved hearing about your baby boy and new home! I just adore you (even though I don’t know you) and your blog!!!

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Ali @ Peaches and Football     at 7:13 am

I don’t think there’s anything quite as wonderful as being able to eat meals outside. It’s such a mark of summer to me. Since our long days and warm nights last for such a fleeting moment up North where I live, perhaps that’s why they feel even more special.

Congrats again on the new house. It’s always exciting to find a new place you love.

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries     at 7:29 am

Ahhh isn’t summer time the best?!?! I love grilling everything and anything and enjoying our meals outside. So glad to hear you’re enjoying your new home!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We need a grill!

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Mandy     at 7:30 am

Hi Emily,

Those dinners look wonderful! A question on portions: I find when I cook tofu + a veggie + a starch, we eat a lot of it (my husband and I easily eat a brick of tofu at a time). That plate you made with the tofu, corn and potato — does that satisfy both of you or do you go back for more? I am starting to think that we (athletic, lean couple) eat far too much food at a serving!
Thanks :)

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char eats greens Reply:

My hubby and I eat a block of tofu to us as well haha :P

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Mandy Reply:

It is truly impossible not to!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh we definitely eat a block of tofu each time, just us two. :) I went back for another piece of corn. Honestly, the potato was HUGE. We both eat giant portions too, which I find much easier to do with veg food!

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char eats greens     at 7:40 am

Ok, these are the best looking meals EVER!! Thanks for the inspiration!! Quick question, what highchair do you have for Cullen?! We’re at the stage where we need to purchase one soon and I’m overwhelmed! haha Thanks ;)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oxo Tot Sprout, and we love it!

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green     at 10:23 am

BBQ tofu is a staple in our house. So easy and so delicious every time. I’ve only have millet a few times, but it looks great in that salad!

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Katie @ running4cupcakes     at 10:44 am

Ahhh this post is making me so excited for summer to finally get here in MN! I am so looking forward to Luke playing with chalk on the driveway and meals on the deck.

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Leah     at 11:17 am

Emily, do you purchase the champagne vinegar at Trader Joe’s?

Great post! I’m enjoying spending time outside this week now that we’re out of our crazy heat wave.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, TJ’s!

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Leah Reply:

Thanks! (cheaper there too)

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Lauren     at 11:34 am

I totally understand your challenge with the electric stove…they really take practice to get good brown crust on veggies! We are so excited for our new kitchen (new house in July!) with a gas stove!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats on your new place!

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Lee     at 8:40 pm

We just re-did our deck and are really enjoying eating outside. It’s one of the best parts of summer (minus the mosquitos).

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Jennifer Pringle     at 2:51 am

Congratulations on the new home :) I’ve got to say it looks like your making the most of the backyard, and the food looks delicious :)

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kristen @ verbs and vignettes     at 4:29 am

l love eating outside. I don’t have space at my apartment, so I go to my parents’ house and eat by the pool. And I love that the sun is staying out later!

Your meals look delicious… all healthy fresh ingredients. I have to stop getting in the rut of “I’m home from work, tired and hungry. What can I fix to be eating in 5 minutes?”

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Anna @ On Anna's Plate     at 5:33 am

Glad to hear summer has come to Seattle– we’re visiting my husband’s family out there in July, and I’m hoping for warm weather! We’ve had some pretty chilly fourths out there before, ha!

Dinners look delicious!

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Blaire     at 1:54 pm

You inspired me to step up my greens. Made the crispy kale with nutritional yeast – so yummy! My 16 month old continually asked for more. One of the sure ways to get in a green veggie for the whole family. Also the bbq tofu looks amazing. Congrats on the new home.

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ann     at 1:58 pm

Hi Emily,

I know you have been busy with the move, the pregnancy, etc. I was just wondering if you could post your recipe for marinated mushrooms, when you get the chance. Thank you so much. And congratulations on the house and the baby!

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Marie R     at 2:22 pm

I hate electric! I will NEVER have another one after this one!

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Emily @ Tips on Healthy Living     at 8:29 pm

These look like idyllic dinners. Congrats on your new home!

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Sarina @ Earthgiven Kitchen     at 5:33 pm

I love making millet, when you start to cook them on the stove before adding water, they crisp up and smell like popcorn! And I love BBQ tofu. Congrats on your new home!

[Reply]

Kristi     at 11:33 am

I need to get some table and chairs so I can enjoy dinner outside from time to time.

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