Friday Feasts! – Almond Butter Bread


I found this recipe a few years ago and made it a few times. Recently I’ve been trying to cut back on carbs and eat more homemade foods, so I dug up this recipe and man has it been hitting the spot! I like it even more now than I did when I first came across it.

Whether you’re trying to cut out grains, eat less carbs, or just find a simple and easy bread to bake at home, this recipe from delivers:

How I made it:

This bread bakes sort of like zucchini or banana bread, but not as sweet. The mixture that you pour into the pan is more like a batter than a dough, which is awesome because you don’t have to knead it or wait for it to rise. Just combine ingredients, stir, and bake! And when it’s all baked through, it has a texture more like a soft wheat or oat bread.

My bread loaf pan is 8x4 on the bottom and this recipe doesn’t fill it completely. So my loaf came out a little short for sandwich bread. That’s okay because I mostly like to spread it with butter, jam, and/or cheese, so the size and shape don’t matter. But you’d probably want to use a smaller loaf pan or increase the recipe to get bigger slices for sandwiches.

                               Top view!

                               Top view!

Julie Tweaks:

I’ve tried a few different grain-free bread recipes and this is by far the best I’ve found. However, like all the recipes I’ve tried, it does come out tasting a little “eggy”, due to the large quantity of eggs usually called for in these recipes. Normally you can cut out some of the eggs, so I tried this recipe with 4 eggs instead and it’s perfect! 4 eggs are enough to keep this bread moist and delicious, but not taste eggy. I’m guessing it’s because this uses a decent amount of almond butter (3/4 cup is about half of most jars, so, if you’re lazy like I am, you can just use half a jar instead of measuring it out separately), it keeps it softer than most recipes that use a combo of almond meal and coconut flour.

I also tend to prefer ghee as my oil source, so this last time I made the recipe, I swapped out the coconut oil for melted ghee. I don’t think this makes a huge difference, but I like it a little better this way.


I’ve been pretty obsessed with this bread lately. It’s great with some room temperature Kerrygold butter and raspberry jam. It’s also great with brie and sliced strawberries. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have something healthy on hand that you can quickly snack on and feel satisfied.

Check it out and let me know how you like it! I’m thinking of trying to bake it into rolls and other shapes in the near future 😊

Friday Feasts! - Balsamic Dressing

I'm almost as in love with this cute little bottle I found at Homegoods as I am with this dressing. As you can see, I loved it so much it's almost gone! 

I'm almost as in love with this cute little bottle I found at Homegoods as I am with this dressing. As you can see, I loved it so much it's almost gone! 

It often feels like my entire life has been an ongoing effort to eat healthier, which is really hard because Dr Pepper and Doritos are freaking delicious. But I’m hopeful that if I keep at it long enough, eventually all the good, nutritious food I’ve discovered and incorporated into my diet will crowd out the junk.

As part of my latest efforts, I’ve been experimenting with making my own salad dressings. A lot of store-bought options are made with unhealthy oils and other ingredients I prefer not to eat. My go-to recipe has been an Olive Garden copycat Italian dressing (which I’ll share in a future post). But the other night I was making a salad with gorgonzola, walnuts and honeycrisp apples – some of my favorite toppings! I didn’t think the Italian dressing flavors would work as well with it, so I googled “balsamic dressing” and one of the first recipes that came up was this one from

How I made it:

This recipe was so easy to make and SO delicious. I put all the ingredients into a tall, plastic cup and emulsified them with my stick blender, which turned it into a rich, creamy, dressing—while saving my wrist from all that whisking. But if you don’t have a stick blender, you can certainly make this with a whisk, as the recipe suggests.

The mustard and the garlic make it taste far more complex than you’d expect out of a 5-ingredient dressing. And—bonus!—those 5 ingredients are all things with long shelf-lives that I regularly have on hand, making this a great salad dressing to whip up in a pinch.

Julie Tweaks:

Even though I’ve been cutting back on sugar, I do add a pinch or two of organic sugar or a splash of real maple syrup to this because I prefer my vinaigrettes a little sweet. So if the taste is a little too strong and vinegary for you, maybe try adding a small amount of sweetener. I’m not usually much for artificial sweeteners, but I’m curious to try a little Stevia in this and see how that tastes.

I work from home and rarely need to be presentable, so the pungency of the garlic isn’t a problem for me.  But I think you could easily halve the garlic in this recipe and it wouldn’t be as strong. That’s what I’m going to do anytime I serve this to guests – which I intend to do! Because it’s so good, it needs to be shared!

Try it out and let me know what you think! And if you’ve got another go-to dressing recipe you love, please share!

My favorite fall salad of romaine, honeycrisp apples, gorgonzola, walnuts, & this dressing

My favorite fall salad of romaine, honeycrisp apples, gorgonzola, walnuts, & this dressing



I'm not much of a poet. But I took a creative writing class in college and had to write a poem about a famous person. I chose Stephen King. And now that I'm re-reading The Dark Tower series (my favorite) I was reminded of this poem and dug through my digital archives to find it. And lo and behold, I still like it! I wrote the original version of this before I started writing novels, but I already agreed with his idea that stories are unearthed (followed), not created. So now the last stanza has additional meaning to me, and hopefully to any other writer who might read this.

Fun fact: this was originally titled "Stephen King is my Geeky Hero".



The wordslinger followed

Through endless moonlit dreamscapes

His fingers


The tune

Over countless keyboards

Through endless piles of paper

His digits orchestrating the strings

Of nightmare marionettes—

They lurk inside every closet

(still afraid of The Boogeyman)

Peek from every pipe

(I’ve seen the Deadlights)

Wait outside every window

(don’t invite them in)


The wordslinger struggled


Through coke addiction


A writer’s bruised and broken ego

He found the words did not dry up

To the sober one’s touch

Instead they created a river

A damn ocean of sanity

In which to swim

To float

(we all float down here)


The wordslinger awakened


Saved by his own creation

Sacrificed again to tell his tale

(there are other worlds than these)

His body broken

Breath stolen

Hip hijacked

He continued on

To finish

To rest

To start all over again



The wordslinger spoke


And Constant Reader listened

He climbed the tower and turned the key

The door of all doors



To a world of gritty genius

Words were sand

Flying in cycles of dips and swirls

He knew the rhythm

He beat it out

Watched as they banded together

And dug them out

Dusting them off

Oh so carefully

Until they took life

Walked on their own


The stories formed

fled across the desert

And the wordslinger followed

Florida Faith

Back in 2001 I did a month-long internship in Florida. I was 20 and vegan and full of convictions. I had just finished up my first year of community college. I had done a 3 month internship at Farm Sanctuary’s NY shelter the previous year, and that’s how I heard about the campaign to ban gestation crates on pig farms in Florida. I signed up to volunteer and my best friend John and his band, Fall River (previously Manhunt), dropped me off at my internship in Ft Lauderdale while they were on tour in the area. As an adult, it boggles my mind we were able to make the timing sync up like that. But I’m glad we did. After a couple days of van repairs and missed or cancelled shows, we arrived in Florida, ate at Burger King, and then immediately blinded the beaches with our pasty white Pennsylvanian skin. It was glorious.

My job at the internship was to collect signatures of FL residents to pass a ballot initiative. 15 year old spoiler alert: we got enough signatures. And the initiative even passed. I had very little to do with that, however. See, I was terrible at collecting signatures. I’ve always been pretty quiet and shy around strangers. And as a youngin I was even more self-conscious and hesitant. So spending my days approaching person after person and asking them to sign those petitions was not the easiest thing for me. And I’m definitely not a pushy person. I think the signatures I did manage to collect, were achieved with earnestness alone. And maybe a little pity.

But I did have one useful feature for our cause: a driver’s license.

The group of interns I was working with didn’t drive, so I became the chauffeur. Someone had donated a car to our cause. It was a tan Toyota 4 runner that had been used in some other sort of rescue effort and had the permanent smell of cat pee embedded in its cushions. It had no CD player and a broken antennae. So we didn’t get very many radio stations. There was one classic rock station that came in sometimes. And a light pop rock station that basically just played Train’s Drops of Jupiter on a loop, every once in awhile throwing Vanessa Carlton’s Thousand Miles into the mix for variety.

Our saving grace? Somewhere in the intern headquarters we found exactly one cassette to play in the SUV’s tape player: George Michael’s Faith.

We listened to that tape daily. Multiple times a day. For at least the 4 weeks I was in Florida. I had the CD at home in PA and had listened to it quite a bit over the years. But during my drives on those beautiful, smooth, not at all cracked and shitty like PA, Florida highways, I became intimately familiar with the album. We all did. Think about it for a minute – with smart phones and iPods and satellite radio, when was the last time you listened to an album? Like really really listened to it? On a loop. For at least 30 days in a row. I know that in my life, that simply does not happen anymore.

It didn’t take us long to learn all the words to all the songs. One of my fellow interns-turned-friends, misheard the lyrics to “Father Figure” as “Bottle Feeder” and we never let her forget it. And you’ve never really lived until you’ve sung (okay, screeched) GM’s “Monkey” in 3-part harmony. Already by 2001, his 80s lyrics were simultaneously amazing and also totally foreign, and sometimes even rapey (see exhibit: I Want Your Sex Part 3. And don’t ever accept a gin and tonic from George Michael).

It was a long, crazy, weird, difficult month for me. I was so out of my element trying to collect those signatures. I think it was harder for me than 3 months shoveling literal shit during the dead of winter had been the year prior. But George Michael got me through it. So did my fellow interns, Chris and Kath and a bunch of others. And now, even 15 years later, it’s a sense-memory thing for me. I hear “Father Figure,” and I’m back to those sunny highways, windows down, hair blowing in the somewhat urine-scented wind. I’m back to a time when it felt like big, world-wide changes were possible, if only enough people were willing to sleep on saggy air mattresses in tiny offices and go just a little bit insane listening to one cassette tape ad nauseam.

Last Christmas, when I heard that George Michael had died, I immediately thought of Florida. And I was sad that there wouldn’t be new GM albums for future generations of young people to listen to on a loop while they spent insane amounts of time and energy doing the things they’re passionate about. But there will always be Faith. And Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. And, of course, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael, among others. The dude has left quite a legacy and I’m sure he’s already moved on to greater things. Still, I’m feeling nostalgic.

Recently, during my attempts to minimize my belongings, I found my old journals from college. And tucked away in one of them was the photocopy of a poem/essay/rambling I wrote for my fellow intern a couple days before I left Florida. I don’t know if it makes much sense to anyone else, but this awkward prose perfectly sums up that brief period in my life. And I can’t hear GM without thinking about it.