Sunday, June 28, 2020

3 Homemade Savory Snack Recipes

Am I the only one that darts straight to the bulk aisle when given the luxury of strolling through a health foods store? Without fail, nuts invariably sneak their way into my cart. Buying nuts can be tricky. Looking for raw and organic is especially important for this recipe as store bought roasted, candied, and conventional nuts typically undergo high-heat mechanical processes that leave the nuts devoid of nutrients. Rancid oils coat these nuts, which create dangerous free radicals and destroy helpful and neutralizing antioxidants that would otherwise prevent the damage (Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. 112, 512). Baking nuts in your home gives you control over ingredients and technique. Below I’ve shared a sweet, buttery recipe with a method that supports digestibility.



Roasted Rosemary Butter Pecans



4 cups pecans, soaked*

¼ cup butter

¼ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons salt

1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced (1 ¼ teaspoon if using dried rosemary)

Pinch of cayenne




1.     Set oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.     Add the soaked pecans to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3.     In a small pot, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Remove pot from heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour liquid mixture over nuts and coat evenly. Add salt, rosemary, cayenne and mix.

4.     Spread nuts on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flip and rotate nuts every 15 minutes. Turn oven to 275 F and continue slow baking for another 30 minutes, checking and flipping occasionally so that nuts do not burn.



Yields: 4 cups roasted pecans

Time: 40 minutes without soaking, or 6-8 hours with soaking


*Soaking nuts benefits the body as it breaks down the phytic acid found in the nuts that can interfere with proper digestion. To soak pecans for this recipe, place pecans in a large mixing bowl and use about 6 cups of filtered water and two teaspoons of salt. Cover and either let them sit over night, or at least 4-8 hours. Strain with colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. For more on nut health and hacks, check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, and any information from the Weston A. Price Foundation.


Copyright 2020, A. Chavez, Original recipe.

What prepackaged food items do you tend to buy repeatedly just because it’s easy? For me, crackers are always going to be at the top of the list.  But I do so hesitantly as it almost always turns into a process: the modern, minimal marketing on the recycled plastic catches my eye. Before I can read the listed ingredients, I’m easily distracted by the cooing of the box to my left with bold lettering that reads “100% Organic.” Shoot, loads of sugars are baked in these crackers along with a few ingredients I can’t pronounce. Solution? Make your own.

Herbed Quinoa Crackers 


1 ½ cup quinoa flour, plus more for dusting / rolling (I blend dried quinoa myself and use a grittier texture versus smooth)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

½ cup warm water

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Maldon Sea Salt to garnish



1.     Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, and herbs and whisk to combine.

2.     Create a small well in the center of the dried mixture and add the water and melted coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients together, using your hands to knead into a dough to form a ball.

3.     Lightly dust a cutting board, rolling pin, and parchment paper with remaining quinoa flour to prevent any sticking. Roll the dough flat until it’s about ¼-inch thick.

4.     With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut 2x2 inch squares and place on the baking tray. Use a fork to poke the center of each cracker, then sprinkle with Maldon salt and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Check often to prevent burning.


Yields: 20-24 crackers

Time: 35 minutes



 Adapted by Ashley Chavez from an original recipe by Jessica Martin, 2019.

In the kitchen, I do my best to practice resourcefulness by utilizing every part of a food; minimizing food waste invites major creativity. More often than not vendors at the farmers market will ask if I want them to cut off the green, feathery tops of carrots. For them to throw away? Carrot tops are a great addition to an already mouthwatering pesto recipe I love. I usually use ½ to ¾ of the bunch after giving them a good wash, the greens that aren’t suitable to eat will be apparent. Use your best judgment in the amount to add to the recipe, and adjust with other ingredients as needed.  

Carrot Top Pesto 


Carrot Greens

3 cups arugula

½ cup basil leaves

¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted (pine nuts and cashews to substitute)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

3-5 second count slow, continuous stream of olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste



Blend all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or high-speed blender. Next add the olive oil in slowly. Taste and adjust with seasonings.


Yields: 8-oz jar

Time: 10 minutes


Copyright 2020, A. Chavez, Original recipe.





Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

My Culinary Farm Immersion Experience: One Week at Quillisascut Farmstead



            Quillisascut represents the mecca of modern-day trending ‘grow-your-own, farm-to-plate, sustainable living, etc.’ movements.

            Last week one of my former culinary professors, Maribeth Evezich invited me to an online lunch-n-learn to share my experience at Quillisascut School of the Domestic Arts with her first-year nutrition and culinary students. A wave of nostalgia rushed through my body. I instantaneously projected myself back to that mustard yellow kitchenette, where all stages of a sourdough’s life were present, and aromas of the active cultures filled the air and danced with the yeast rising the proofing bread.

            Experiencing Quillisascut is to know and experience true farm-to-table and farm-to-restaurant eating and cooking firsthand. This special plot of 26 bountiful acres sits right outside the Colville National Forest in Rice County, WA. Rick and Lora Lee Misterly, the homesteaders behind the farm school, hosted an intimate group of culinary nutritionists and educators for a weeklong farm immersion in Fall of 2018, each of us beckoned on a journey to connect deeper with our environments, the various cycles of life, and ultimately ourselves. Quillisascut’s approach remains very aligned with mine- seeing food as the common unifier that brings people together, with a wholistic undertone to it all. 

Everything is connected; there is no denying that.

Immediately upon stepping foot on the farm, I glimpsed into my future; the vision of one day living off the land bloomed into existence- a possible reality. Over a dozen goats and chickens, roosters and ducks roamed the grounds. We harvested and foraged just about everything we ate directly from the farm, if not it was sourced from neighboring farms or acquired from the occasional ‘restock-for-bulk-items’ trip to the local co-op, PCC. The magenta fields of scattered amaranth complemented the daily pink sunsets. Wild, edible treasures flooded the garden, from walnut trees (which, after cracking walnuts by hand I now know why they are so expensive!) to tomatillo plants, a plethora of peppers, root vegetables, and squashes, to an abundance of leafy greens.

Lauren and I barehandedly skinning a goat

Everything served a purpose. Nothing inhabited for no reason.

The chickens hatched the eggs, and combined with a little culinary magic in the kitchen, we feasted on savory breakfast dishes. The goats yielded pungent and tastefully tangy milk (yes, WE did the milking at 5 o’clock in the morning) transformed by Lora Lee to make goat milk coffee creamer and the farm’s bestseller, goat cheese. The ducks and goats spent their lives contributing to the farm’s cycle, but with life comes death. Rick selflessly completed the butchering of a goat as well as three ducks, while the fellow attendees and I partook mostly with our eyes. If willing or felt called to do (which I most certainly was), an opportunity arose to skin the carcass of the goat, pluck the feathers of the still warmed bodies of the headless ducks, and gut out all of their insides. Vegans, are you having second thoughts about this farm utopia? Side note: I spent two years of my life adhering to a VERY strict vegan lifestyle, so with the appreciation and respectability of animals still in the forefront of my mind, it was a humbling experience to say the least. Just as life yields to death, life also emerges from death. Not a single part of those animals weren’t eaten (deep fried goat testicles are a hit!). A newfound reverence. 

Students from Bastyr University plucking duck feathers

                We broke bread together; we feasted, we indulged, we cooked, we learned, and sipped a little too much wine until we laughed and cried in unison. I have kept so many magical moments from that week on the farm to myself and those I shared them with. My path led me to Quillisascut in a very unique way, but I assure you this lifestyle and deep reverence for nature are much more tangible than you think. If you’re reading this blog, consider yourself in-tuned and connected. It’s ok to give a f*ck! It’s ok to challenge modern ways of living. It’s ok to take a leap of faith, sell everything, and start farmsteading. Ok, slightly joking. But trust each step you walk on your path, listen to your gut, hold tight to your wildest dreams, put ideas into action, and make your dreams a reality. A fruitful life awaits.

Wood Fired Brick Oven in the backyard where pizzas were baked, featuring whole and cracked walnuts


To learn more, go to and follow their instagram @quillisascut

To see the style of curriculum I trained under, check out Maribeth Evezich at and follow her instagram @wholefoodsexplorer