These are super easy. I bet you have everything for them in your pantry right now (which makes them free). And they taste at least as good as boxed brownies.Brownies* Truth in advertising disclaimer: the brownie pictured is actually a gluten-free brownie (recipe here) and not at all the brownies from this recipe.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or some combination of oils and applesauce; part coconut oil is nice, but all coconut oil would be overwhelming)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased 8×8 pan for 20-25 minutes.



101 Salads: The One with Quinoa and Tomatoes

salad2I made this two different ways: once with lime juice and cilantro and again as written, with lemon juice and parsley. I much preferred the first version (with lime juice and cilantro). It may be that I just don’t care for parsley, but I didn’t finish even a small bowl of the lemon and parsley version. I would make this again if I wanted to use up some quinoa, but I’m not in a big hurry to.

Cook and cool quinoa. Toss with olive oil, loads of lemon juice, tons of parsley, some chopped tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts (optional).

101 Salads: The One with Cucumbers and Mustard

salad1This salad takes just a bit of planning ahead. It reminded me why trying 101 salads is a good idea: I would likely not have come up with this combination on my own, but I really liked it. I made mine quite mustardy (about 1:1 vinegar and mustard), and I think next time I make it I will make the vinegar to mustard ratio a little higher (um, if that means more vinegar, less mustard; I don’t claim to remember everything I learned in math class).

Slice cucumbers thin (if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first), toss with red onions and salt, then let sit for 20 to 60 minutes. Rinse, dry, dress with cider vinegar mixed with Dijon mustard; no oil necessary.

101 Salads: The One with Tomatoes and Soy Sauce



This one was a good reminder of what this project is: simple salads. It tastes pretty much how you’d expect it to taste — tomatoes, soy sauce. Definitely a side item, but so quick to toss together.

Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil, and basil or cilantro.

101 Salads: The One with Carrots and Blueberries

carrots and blueberries

Another gem. Easy, interesting, pretty. I really liked the variety of taste and textures in this one.

Grate carrots (I used already shredded from Trader Joe’s), toast some sunflower seeds (again, already toasted; I used unsalted), and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of black pepper.


Grains and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Kale

kaleSo this isn’t technically one of the 101 simple salads, but it is a salad and it is simple. Also it is delicious, and I eat it a lot in the summertime. 


  • 3 to 4 cups cooked brown rice (or today I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend)
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (1 can will do just fine)
  • 2 cups chopped raw kale
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • handful of chopped green onions or fresh chives
  • handful basil leaves, chiffonade (I always forget this, and it’s still tasty)
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil (I usually go really scant)
  • juice of one lemon
  • (sea) salt and pepper to taste


Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together.


101 Salads: The One with Bean Sprouts

Bean sproutsA while ago (maybe two summers ago?) I came across an article titled “101 Simple Salads for the Season.” I’ve tried a few here and there, but I haven’t had a system to remember which ones I’ve liked. I am going to again start making my way through. My goal, of course, is to eventually try all 101, but I am not putting any time limits on it. I’ll keep track of my thoughts here. 

So this salad is no. 6: Sichuan Slaw. I could also call it “I had to stop myself from eating a half pound of bean sprouts in one sitting.” But at the same time, a little goes a long way. This was a good one.

The recipes are minimalist in that they just give general suggestions: amounts are up to us, I guess. This time I started with about 2 cups of bean sprouts, and it made about three servings (or a really small side dish for a potluck). I did not have celery or a chili, but I imagine those would only make it better. I did have basil, mint, and cilantro, and the trio combination was delish.

Toss bean sprouts, shredded carrots and celery, minced fresh chili, soy sauce, sesame oil and a bit of sugar. Top with chopped peanuts and chopped basil, mint and/or cilantro. (The full trio is best.)