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Pink Pasta For Your Valentine


While flipping through a new cookbook this bright pink pasta caught my eye. Since I am a baker and Valentine’s Day is coming up, I have been wrist deep into prink frosting and heart shaped sprinkles. It’s all pink, all the time. Naturally the first thing I thought of when seeing this pasta was “what a great idea for Valentine’s Day!” So great in fact that I felt like I should share it.
If you are looking for a romantic/festive dish to serve to your family or sweetheart on this holiday look no further. This quick and easy recipe is adapted from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier

Shocking Pink Pasta

12 ounces red beets, peeled and diced
1 cup whipping cream
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound pasta of your choice (orecchiette pictured) linguine or spaghetti suggested in book
Fresh ground black pepper
Roasted brussels sprouts or other green vegetable (optional)
3/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
fresh parsley, chopped as garnish

In a blender or food processor, combine beets, cream, salt, cumin, and garlic. Process until smooth.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until it is about a minutes shy of al dente. You want to pull it out of the water before it is all the way done. Strain and return pasta to pot. Add beet and cream sauce. Return to medium heat and cook until heated through and pasta is al dente. About 1 – 2 minutes.
Top with roasted brussels sprouts, almonds, pepper, and parsley.

Juicing 101


My little town is growing up. This week our first co-op opened its doors. It will be wonderful to be able to get a few groceries and some fresh produce downtown when the farmers market isn’t in season. Last year we got a cute little juicing cafe and the local nutrition store moved into the downtown area. With a record store, coffee shop, and pizza place we are moving up in the world!
The nutrition store held a juicing class this last Saturday. I recently bought a juicer, so it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about why, how, and what to juice. As a casual juicer, I have not taken the plunge to do a full juice fast or cleanse. My breakfast recently has been consisting of a juice with some chia seeds thrown in for fiber and protein. It’s a great way to start your day! Especially if you let all those nutrients hit your system before your coffee does. The struggle is real.
The following information is an outline of the class and various books and websites I have read on the subject. Boy, does that sound sound dry? I promise juicing is a fun and colorful way to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into your diet!

The Benefits:
Juicing fruits and veggies extracts much of the vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrients, which you in turn quickly absorb when consuming.
You can consume a large amount and wide variety of fruits and veggies.
Reduce calories without depriving your body of nutrients.
Promotes weight loss.
Boosts immune system.
Increases energy while giving your digestive system a break.
Supports brain health and function.
Overall health and wellness is increased by feeding your body important vitamins and minerals.

Types of Juicers:
Centrifugal juicers are use a high speed blade to break down produce. A spinning basket then separates the pulp from the juice.
These juicers are fast and easy to use.
Less expensive.
Creates more waste because it doesn’t extract juice as well as a masticating juicer.
Does not juice leafy greens well.
Juice needs to be consumed right away because of oxidization.                                Masticating:
Masticating juicers mash produce slowly, extracting the juice and preserving more nutrients.
More pulp, thus more fiber is preserved.
Quieter than a centrifugal juicer.
More expensive.
Juices leafy greens more effectively.
Juices can be stored for at least 24 hours.

Juicing versus Smoothies:
You can consume more nutrients from a juice because you are consuming a larger amount of fruits and veggies. Much of the fiber and pulp is removed.
Smoothies contain all the fiber and tend to be more filling, but contain fewer nutrients.
Both juices and smoothies have different benefits and it is a great idea to incorporate both in your diet.

Quick Tips on Preparing Produce:
Buy organic produce. When juicing you’re using raw fruits and veggies. No matter how long you soak and scrub them you will still be chancing pesticides in your system.
Wash all your produce well before juicing. Rinse any dirt off and soak in a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. I use a capful of apple cider vinegar in a large bowl of water. If you choose to use your sink make sure is clean and use a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar in a sink full of water. Swish around the produce to get clean.
There is no need to peel most vegetables, but do take thick skins from fruits like pineapple and citrus off.
It is a good idea to take the seeds out of apples.

The Recipes:                                                                                                                                       These recipes were inspired after some research on the different benefits that each fruit and veggie offer. They are also pretty tasty combinations!
Each recipe makes about 16 fluid ounces

Orange – Immune Booster
1 grapefruit
1 orange
1 Small sweet potato
3 medium to large carrots
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary (don’t run through juicer)

Red – Digestion Helper
1 large red beet
1/2 large fennel bulb
2 large handfuls spinach
1 large apple
1/2 lime

Green – Energizer
1 small green apple
1/2 pineapple
8 large kale leaves
2 large handfuls spinach
3 celery stalks
1/2 inch piece ginger

Lefse – A Norwegian Family Tradition

Truth be told this is actually a Christmas tradition. I realize we are past that, but my New Years resolution has been to complete things I started last year. So far I finished watching House of Cards on Netflix, sending christmas gifts, patching some old clothes, and now I am finishing this blog post.
Every Christmas Eve my grandparents on my dad’s side hosted our family Christmas get-together. It was steeped in tradition. My grandmother consistently made sweet and sour pork chops and set out a large punch bowl with her nice gold-leafed green glasses. For as long as I can remember she wore the same bright red, long, polyester dress with ruffled sleeves and an apron that said “NOEL.” She taught me at a young age how to properly set the table, from the placement of the silverware to where the host and hostess are expected to sit. The table was always fixed with beautiful name cards and adorned with baskets of lefse.
Lefse is like a tortilla or flatbread made out of potatoes, flour, and butter. Legend has it that it was first made centuries ago in Norway. With the only ingredients that were available, a family was able to whip this up to serve for a Christmas meal. I do not know if this is the true history of lefse. My family’s known history in making it goes back to my great great grandmother who came here from Denmark.
Our family traditions have changed some over the years with the aging of my grandparents. We lost my grandfather last February. My grandmother passed away in December and we held her funeral the week of Christmas. Most of the family was still able to get together for the holiday and this year to stay true to tradition, I made the lefse.
There is all sorts of special lefse making equipment. My family has always just used what we had. We use a skillet or griddle, flat spatula, and a regular rolling pin. I like to use a potato ricer, but if you do not have one you can mash your potatoes anyway you like.


1 pound russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Peel and cut potatoes into somewhat even cubes. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Drain off water. Use a potato ricer or other method to smash potatoes. Stir in butter, heavy cream, and salt. Refrigerate mixture for several hours or overnight. The dough will be more manageable if you have cooled the potatoes.
Once potatoes are cool, mix in flour. Knead the dough a few times to make smooth. Portion out dough into several even balls. Should make approximately a dozen depending on your size preference.
Dust a clean surface with flour and begin to roll out each ball into a flat round. I like to get mine as thin as possible without the dough tearing. If the dough is too sticky use more flour.
Heat a skillet or griddle to medium-high heat. You may need to adjust this once you get going. Cook each lefse about 1 -1 1/2 minutes on each side. Just until it starts to get golden brown spots.
While the lefse is still warm, roll or fold into fourths. Keep covered with a towel. Serve immediately or can be refrigerated for several days.
Serve with butter and cinnamon and sugar. Also good with jam.


Top Five Post from 2015

Happy 2016!


Diana and I (Laura) are looking forward to new year of Crumbs Above Gold. It was just last New Years Eve that the dream of our little food blog was conceived. It is fun to look back over the year and see what we have accomplished.
2015 was exciting, fulfilling, and sometimes hectic as we learned and grew our blog. We got a huge boost in followers when we were featured on Buzzfeed. This was definitely a highlight and a very exciting accomplishment in our first year!
Thank you to those who have been faithful followers. We are getting organized for the following year and new adventures!  In the meantime here are our top five post from 2015.

5. Frozen Yogurt Bark

strawberry peach bark

4. Foraged Wild Marionberry Crisp

crisp 2

3. Mini Quiche in Leafy Cups for Diana’s Baby Shower Brunch                            P.S. Diana had a beautiful and healthy baby boy in September


2. Beet Deviled Eggs with Goat Cheese & Tarragon

Beet Deviled Eggs

1. Pumpkin Bisque



I first met the brilliant and lovely women behind Crumbs Above Gold one year ago, when I began working as a barista at The Flying M Coffee Garage.  As many of you readers know, Laura is our baker at the shop we affectionately refer to as “The M” and Diana is married to Joe, who was our roaster for many years.

As for me, my name is Rachel Elling and I’m a girl who probably enjoys too many things.  I love having full days and going to bed very tired each night.  I have traveled fairly extensively for my age throughout Europe and Africa.  I moved to Idaho from Maine, where I studied Midwifery.  I practiced as a Midwife in the Treasure Valley for a few years before I chose to take a break to pursue coaching CrossFit and training as a weightlifter.  See… I really do enjoy too many things!  Making coffee is such a fun job and I love being a familiar face in the community I live in.  Recently I accepted a job with a non-profit organization called Mercy in Action, that works to improve maternal infant mortality rates in the world- most notably in the Philippines.  I haven’t been to the Philippines yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that it’s my next adventure!


I was raised in a large family of eight.  Like most families, we had our share of traditions, particularly around the holidays.  One of our Christmas traditions was to look for a tree as a family.  We would then decorate it together while drinking my mom’s famous homemade eggnog (Christmas music playing in the background, of course).  The eggnog recipe was a family secret, passed on for generations.  I could drink enough cups of that velvety beverage to make myself sick, but I didn’t care!  It was so delicious and everyone we knew agreed.

In 2007 I was studying in England, preparing to spend my very first Christmas away from home.  Homesick for my family and our traditions, I had the idea to host an evening at the school: An Elling Family Christmas.  We would watch It’s a Wonderful Life, decorate sugar cookies and, most importantly, drink my mom’s eggnog!  I purchased all of the required ingredients, paying a fortune thanks to the exchange rate (seriously, the eggnog was so expensive it should have been laced with gold dust).  I got special permission to use the school’s kitchen and I went to work- trying my hand at this ancient family recipe for the first time.  The night was a success- my English friends loved it and I was a little less homesick by the end.  As per usual, everyone wanted the eggnog recipe, but I explained that it was a family secret that I absolutely could not disclose.

I also made the eggnog several times when I was living in Maine, studying Midwifery.  I brought it to parties and potlucks, and sometimes I would simply make a pitcher to share with my roommate at home.  Once again, the requests for the recipe poured in and I had to explain why I was not at liberty to share it with anyone outside of my family.

One evening while I was speaking with my mom over the phone, I mentioned that I had made her eggnog for another party and that everyone had loved it!  “Mom, do people bug you all the time for that recipe?  I get asked so much, but don’t worry, I always tell them no,” I said.  “You tell them no when they ask for the recipe?  Why would you do that?” my mom inquired in return.  “Mom, I tell them no because it’s a family recipe and I know it’s a secret,” I replied, almost laughing to myself that she would ask me why I was keeping the recipe under wraps.  “Rachel, that recipe is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s- I took it straight from one of the Little House on the Prairie books.”  Ooops!  We had a pretty good laugh about that as I considered the dozens of friends I had refused to give the recipe to in the name of “Preserving Family Tradition!”  I guess I told myself from a young age that it MY mom’s eggnog recipe.  We still don’t know where I got the idea that it was a family secret though.

Needless to say, I am so happy to share with you readers, THE famous eggnog recipe!  Be sure to let your guests know that it is made with raw eggs.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has and that you share widely!

Merry Christmas!

Teresa’s Christmas Eggnog

Makes six 1 cup servings

3 egg yolks (set whites aside)
½ cup sugar

*whisk together until smooth, push through sieve if needed to remove any lumps

4 cup milk

*slowly pour in to above mixture, whisking constantly

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*whisk in

3 egg whites
1 T sugar

*beat until soft peaks form and partially fold into milk mixture.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!  Of course, you may choose the boozier route.  If you decide to spike your nog, rum, bourbon or brandy are all excellent choices.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake


This cake is so lovely and festive. Cranberries are such a stunning, bright red and adding a sprig of sugared rosemary makes this dessert look just right for a holiday party.
I first saw this recipe in a Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and more recently was reminded of it when NPR aired a Thanksgiving interview with the founder of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen, Christopher Kimball. The story mostly sang the praises of cranberries and the many recipes you can enhance with them this time of year. Having stocked up on cranberries I was all ears. The Cranberry Upside-Down Cake sounded delicious. A simple, moist cake and tart cranberries make a great combination.
Indeed it was delicious! I had a hard time snapping pictures before digging in. I highly recommend trying it out for your next holiday gathering.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

From America’s Test Kitchen via NPR

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated

For the topping:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper round, and spray with cooking spray. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cranberries, sugar and jam and cook until cranberries are just softened, about 4 minutes. Strain cranberry mixture over bowl, reserving juices.
Add strained juices to empty skillet and simmer over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla. Arrange strained berries in single layer in prepared pan. Pour juice mixture over berries and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the cake:
Process almonds and 1/4 cup flour in food processor until finely ground. Add remaining flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine. Whisk milk and extracts in measuring cup. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk mixture.
Using clean bowl and beaters, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk one-third of whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. Pour batter over chilled cranberry mixture and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes, then run paring knife around cake and invert onto serving plate. Serve.

Honey Chèvre Sweet Potatoes


Thanksgiving is this week! It is down to the wire and time to have your thanksgiving checklist in order. Being one of the younger adults in the family I am not required to contribute more than a side dish or two. This year I volunteered to bring the cranberry chutney and one other side dish. I decided to dream up my ideal sweet potato dish. After growing all those sweet potatoes this year I couldn’t pass Thanksgiving without at least a nod to the infamous sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. This is a side dish loved by some and loathed by others. It however, often makes an appearance on many Thanksgiving tables around America.
I wanted something a little bit lighter and more interesting in flavor and texture. Insert honey, pecans and goat cheese. I did have brief dreams of making chèvre marshmallows to top my honey glazed sweet potatoes, but alas I decided to keep it a little more simple in hopes that someone might actually feature this dish on their thanksgiving menu.
This dish has just a touch of sweetness, but it is not heavy or mushy. It is a refreshing way to enjoy sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving.

Honey Chèvre Sweet Potatoes

4 large (about 3-31/2 pounds) sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 ounces chèvre

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
In a large skillet melt butter and honey together on medium heat. Toss sweet potatoes in mixture, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender, but not mushy.
Remove from oven and turn oven to broil.
Crumble chèvre over sweet potatoes and sprinkle with pecans. Place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Just until chèvre melts a little and pecans start to toast.
Optional: drizzle more honey over sweet potatoes before serving.

Herbed Vegetarian Stuffing

Presenting a holiday staple: straightforward, classic stuffing with lots of flavor and vegetarian friendly ingredients.
Growing up, my mom always made stuffing by pureeing the onions and turkey giblets. It was her attempt at hiding all the “less than desirable” ingredients that add flavor to stuffing. While I always will appreciate my mom’s stuffing, I decided I wanted to eliminate the giblets. Since I’m not opposed to the onion and appreciate the texture it adds, I don’t puree those up either. This recipe has lots of herbs, browned butter, and apple cider vinegar to boost the flavor.
I use my mom’s technique of drying slices of bread in various safe places around the house. For me this was the kitchen counter, but then the washer and dryer when guest came over. It wasn’t hidden quite enough because a friend quietly asked me why I had toast in the laundry room. Ok it’s not a perfect technique, but I like to dry my own bread because then I am not limited to the pre-dried white bread cubes available at the store. I like to use a heavily seeded whole wheat bread. It adds more flavor and texture. Use cooling racks to dry your bread or flip to make sure it gets dry through out. I like to dry mine overnight.

Herbed Vegetarian Stuffing

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups celery, 1/4” slices
16 ounces dried (about one loaf) bread chopped into cubes
1 stick butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock (chicken stock if you don’t mind that option)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
In a large skillet on medium heat melt and brown 1/2 cup butter. Once butter reaches a medium brown color add chopped onion and celery. Sauté vegetables on medium high heat until slightly soften.
In large bowl toss chopped herbs and dried bread cubes. Add hot butter and vegetable mixture.
Place pan back on heat and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Swirl around and scrape bits of food that cooked onto pan. This process is known as deglazing. Cook until almost all liquid is evaporated. Add chicken stock to pan. Stir around then pour onto bread crumb mixture. Toss quickly to coat all the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Food Superstitions


It’s Friday the 13th!  Fingers crossed and knock on wood I hope that today will not be unlucky.  However, I have been waiting for this day for awhile because I wanted to share this list of food superstitions from Huffington Post.

The one about the orange (#8) is my favorite.

Happy Friday the 13th!  I’ll be back with more holiday recipes after the weekend.

“May the odds forever be in your favor.”

Apple Butter


This, like my last post, is another holiday recipe from an aunt. My mom’s sister cans a big batch of apple butter each fall. I look forward to having it on my moms homemade rolls on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My aunt, knowing how much I love it, also always gives me a jar or two for Christmas.
My aunt’s recipe is in ratios. Two parts applesauce to one part sugar to one-third part apple cider vinegar and cinnamon to taste. She puts a big batch in a crockpot overnight or for at least 10 hours. It cooks down into a thick, dark sauce with a concentrated flavor and acidic bite from the vinegar. It is equally sweet and tangy.
I loosely used my aunts recipe here, but chose to make an accelerated stove-top version rather than cooking it down overnight. I also tried using a bit less sugar. I have noticed several recipes of the generation before using a lot of sugar and I am always trying to cut it down.


Apple Butter

5 1/2 cups (47 ounce container) unsweetened applesauce
2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours or until reduced by at least half. Covering the pan helps reduce splattering. Stir occasionally. Serve immediately or keep in refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups