May 2015 - Buttered Side Up

My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 3 Recap

Whole 30 Week 3
This week was a bit of a challenge. Not because I had crazy cravings, but because we went "camping" (we actually visited friends and family at their campsites). We ate our breakfasts at home, so at least we had a good start to the day. And the rest of the week I did a pretty good job of sticking to the plan; I tried to snack mindfully. But the rest of the meals while out and about were basically cheats.


Whole 30 Day 15
DAY 15:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and strawberries.
Lunch: Leftover chicken curry soup and water kefir.
Supper: Pulled pork, crispy potatoes, parsnip puree, asparagus, and homemade balsamic ketchup.
Snacks: Almond butter (pre-workout snack), seaweed snacks, an orange, and homemade pesto.

Whole 30 Day 16
DAY 16:
Breakfast: Smoothie (made with local goat milk, cream, frozen strawberries, banana, and collagen).
Lunch: Leftover pork, potatoes, parsnip and asparagus with butter, ketchup and water kefir.
Supper: Chicken salad with tomatoes, avocado, dates, pecans (toasted in butter), homemade (dairy-free) ranch and French dressings.
Snacks: Pesto, an orange, pecans. 

Whole 30 Day 17
DAY 17:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and strawberries + mandarin orange.
Lunch: Leftover pulled pork, parsnip puree, pesto, butter, and water kefir.
Supper (at my family's house): Fried rice with 2 fried eggs, butter, bacon, sriracha mayo, and peanut sauce. I could have had bread and a glass of milk, but I was a good girl.
Snacks: pecans, pesto, and an orange.
Cheats (besides supper): Reuben "forced" me to eat a chocolate chip. I was soooooo sad. ;) 

Whole 30 Day 18
DAY 18:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon, avocado, tomato, and a mandarin orange.
Lunch: Homemade chicken "waldorf" salad and an apple with almond butter.
Supper: Meatballs and gravy with mashed potatoes, butter, peas, water kefir, and cod liver oil.
Snacks: seaweed snacks and pesto.
Cheats: 1 chocolate chip (to check to see if it was freezer burnt). As I mentioned on Instagram, it was really hard not to sample some of the cookie dough that I made.

Whole 30 Day 19
DAY 19:
Breakfast: Scramble with mushrooms, bacon, and grapefruit.
Lunch: Leftover meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, butter, peas, and a strawberry.
Supper: Mayo salmon, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and butter.
Snacks: Seaweed snack.
Cheats: 2 bites of ice cream (while camping).

Whole 30 Day 20
DAY 20:
Breakfast: Scramble with strawberries + iced coffee (Made with espresso, cream, and a tiny amount of maple syrup. I was dragging that morning.).
Lunch: 3 bites of Reuben's sandwich, half a slice of homemade bread spread with butter and almond butter, and an apple.
Supper: Zuppa Toscana (same as lunch last Sunday) with homemade bread and butter.
Snacks: Almond butter, grapes, cheese, and a bite of Helen's chip.

Whole 30 Day 21
DAY 21:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and grapefruit.
Lunch: Potluck! Salad, pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, Thai chicken and rice casserole, fruit salad, chocolate chip cookie, and a small piece each of cheesecake and peach/blueberry cobbler.
Supper: BLTs toasted over the fire (homemade bread, nitrate-free bacon, organic lettuce, tomato, and mustard, and homemade avocado oil mayo) with organic pickles and avocado-oil potato chips.
Cheats: Many (as stated above). :D

I can't believe that I'm already on the last week of my Whole 30! I'm hoping to finish strong. Next week I'll be telling you about the things that I like and dislike about the Whole 30 program. 


Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!

A-Hunting We Did Go | Fried Morel Mushrooms

This post was first published on May 7, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. I always considered it some of my best work, so of course I wanted to share it here on Buttered Side Up. I also included the original comments because there was some good conversation and suggestions for cooking morels...

Each spring, around the time of opening fishing, when the ferns begin to pop up, we head out with our mesh gathering bags to hunt for morel mushrooms. We have a special spot down the road that is nearly guaranteed to give us a few of these delectable little fungi.

Morel Mushrooms
Yesterday, about an hour before supper, I decided it was high time we visited our secret hunting ground. We spent about half an hour of careful search & brought home enough mushrooms to complement our dinner.

Morel Mushrooms
So if you find yourself with a few of these precious mushrooms, please: eat them plain, cooked in butter & seasoned with salt and pepper. Don’t put them in a soup or pasta dish. They are far too good by themselves. Or with bleu cheese. Yes — Bleu Cheese!



  • Butter
  • Morel Mushroom
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper


1) Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise & remove any dirt or bugs.

2) In a medium skillet, melt a generous amount of butter. Add the mushroom & season with salt & pepper to taste. The mushrooms with release their “juices” and the skillet will become saucy.

3) Cook until most of the liquid is gone & the mushrooms begin to darken. Transfer to a serving bowl and eat/devour immediately.

Morel Mushrooms

My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 2 Recap

Whole 30 Week 2

I made it through Week 2 of my Whole 30!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not following the Whole 30 as prescribed by the original creators. I'm allowing myself to "cheat" when I'm out and about or when I'm at someone else's house. Also, I'm trying to cut back on dairy (not drink 2 glasses of milk a day) instead of giving it up completely. I personally think that dairy can be a perfectly healthy food if you aren't allergic and it's organic/local/grass-fed.

I'll let you now how I'm liking eating this way, but first let me show you my meals from last week:

Whole 30 Day 8
DAY 8:
Breakfast: The usual: scramble with fruit!
Lunch: Leftover orange chicken stir-fry.
Supper: Taco salad. I "cheated" by using sour cream and cheese. I also had homemade water kefir to drink.

Whole 30 Day 9
DAY 9:
Breakfast: Scramble with blueberries and strawberries.
Lunch: Leftover taco salad and water kefir. This was seriously the biggest salad I've ever plated for myself.
Supper: Roasted chicken with potatoes and baby broccoli.

Whole 30 Day 10
DAY 10:
Breakfast: strawberry + coconut smoothie (I "cheated" by using some cream) and orange slices.
Lunch: Leftover potatoes and baby broccoli with Bulletproof-style coffee (I used butter, and cream instead of coconut oil).
Supper: Southwest-style stuffed peppers (another dairy "cheat") and strawberries. These stuffed peppers were delicious.

Whole 30 Day 11
DAY 11:
Breakfast: Another scramble with grapefruit.
Lunch: Secret salad (this was for an upcoming guest post). It was a cheat meal because it contained orzo and cheese.
Supper: Chicken curry soup

Whole 30 Day 12
DAY 12:
Breakfast: Scramble (with bacon!) and strawberries.
Lunch: Leftover curry soup.
Supper: Shepherd's Pie (another sort-of cheat because it had cheese on top). I left out the wine, used grass-fed beef instead of lamb, and homemade chicken broth instead of gravy powder.

Whole 30 Day 13
DAY 13: 
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and orange slices.
Lunch: We were out shopping, so we ate at Dickey's BBQ. We got the 2-meat plate with two portions of beef brisket and sides of baked potato casserole and mac & cheese. I was a good girl and didn't eat any of the mac & cheese and only took one small bite of a bun. 
Supper: Leftover shepherd's pie.

Whole 30 Day 14
DAY 14 (Cheat Day):
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and cheese (made by Reuben) and orange.
Lunch: Zuppa Toscana (potato, sausage and kale soup made by my sister from scratch) and homemade focaccia. 
Supper: Tortilla roll-up sandwiches, meatballs, pecan pie bars, and lemon bars.

For snacks between meals I had apples + almond butter, other fruits, pickles, seaweed snacks, super "cookies," etc.
Besides the cheats mentioned above, Reuben convinced me to eat a piece of buttered popcorn and a salt-and-vinegar potato chip.

  • * My sugar cravings are really down. I was really missing it the first few days of my Whole 30. I had to eat dates to get by. 
  • * I found that I was on the verge of a headache for a few days. I'm wondering if that has to do with the exercise I'm doing, or my body adjusting to less sugar, or not eating enough for lunch.
  • * I've also noticed that I seem to have less energy.
  • * I'm getting into the swing of cooking so many different meals. It's actually a lot easier than how I normally cook, because I have everything planned out and all of my ingredients bought. The most important thing is to remember to take meat out of the freezer to thaw.
  • * One thing I really miss is the fun of food. I tend to get excited about my food, but when I'm restricted it takes the fun out of it for me. It's not a moment-by-moment struggle, but I definitely long for a latte or a piece of chocolate...
  • * Added on 5/18/15: I forgot to mention that before I began the Whole 30 I had a bit of acne, which has cleared up now! 

And just like that I'm halfway through! I'm interested to see how I feel in the next two weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!

Cream Cheese and Chive Sandwiches with Edible Flowers

Chive and Cream Cheese Sandwiches with Edible Flowers | Buttered Side Up
When I was a teenager, my sisters and I loved to plan tea parties with our friends. We would assign the courses (soup, sandwiches and salads) to each family, and everyone brought an appetizer and a dessert.

Tea Party Circa 2008
Photo taken circa 2008
We would have them about quarterly, if my memory serves me well. It was loads of fun to dress up for, and we were able to sample lots of new flavors.

Tea Party Circa 2010
Photo taken circa 2010
When I made these sandwiches a few weeks ago, it brought me right back to our tea party days: most likely because we actually made sandwiches that were very similar once. I was flooded with memories of the excitement of hosting or going to a party. And it made me want to have another one. 

Perhaps I will, when I get up the gumption. The last time I hosted a tea party it was exhausting, and that was before I had Helen...

Chive and Cream Cheese Sandwiches with Edible Flowers | Buttered Side Up
But about these sandwiches. 

They are so simple (only five ingredients!) that it hardly seems that there could be much flavor to them. But the dearth of ingredients lets each one shine through. If you were to spread the bread with something more assertive, you would lose the subtle flavors of the flowers and herbs on top.

These are certainly tea party fare. They're fancy little sandwiches. When I brought the leftovers from the shoot to my sister's family, her little girl said, "They're so pretty I don't want to eat them!" And her little three-year-old daughter said, "I am so glad that you made those for us." It definitely helped to improve my "cool aunt" image. Though probably not so much with the boys. ;) 

Chive and Cream Cheese Sandwiches with Edible Flowers | Buttered Side Up

  • * I'm sure you already know this, but it's best to use flowers that are free from pesticides. You never know what they might have sprayed on them if they aren't meant to be eaten.
  • * Here, here, and here are lists of flowers that are edible.
  • * If you want a sandwich that is a bit heartier, you can add a slice of prosciutto or ham on top of the cream cheese.

Cream Cheese and Chive Sandwiches with Edible Flowers
adapted from Grown to Cook | Print

Dainty little sandwiches, perfect for a tea party!

Serves about 6

1 8-oz package of cream cheese,
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives,
1 small loaf of French bread,
fresh herbs for garnish (I used dill, chives, and mint),
fresh edible flowers for garnish (I used the Mirco Flower Blend and Nasturtiums that Marx Foods gave to me).


1) In a medium bowl, blend together the cream cheese and chives (a hand mixer works well for this).
2) Slice the loaf of bread on the diagonal. Spread each piece with the cream cheese mixture. Arrange the herbs and flowers on top.
3) Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for a few hours. You'll want to wait to garnish the sandwiches with the herbs and flowers until just before serving.

Also, the winner of the Marx Foods Photography Challenge has been announced: I made it to the final three (thank you to all who voted me into the finals!), but the prize goes to Manda of The Merry Thought. Go see the winning photo here

Many thanks to Marx Foods for providing the flowers for this post. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 1 Recap

Whole 30 Week 1 Recap
As some of you who follow me on Instagram may already know, I decided to do a Whole 30 during the month of May. I've seen different bloggers posting about it, and I was inspired to try it for myself!

In case you've never heard of it, Whole 30 is a challenge to eat clean for 30 days (you can read the official rules HERE). Now, as much as I love the idea of not eating a single bit of junk for a month, I knew from the get-go that this wasn't realistic for me. For one thing, I do not want to inconvenience others. If I'm at someone else's house I do not want to insist on only eating "approved" foods. I don't have any (known) food allergies, so I don't feel right making others cater to me. Secondly, I love doing things with family. I'm not going to sit at home or refuse to eat a meal with someone just because I'm on a special "diet."

Here are my modified rules:
  • * If I'm at someone else's house, I will eat what they offer. However, I will try to make good choices (e.g. I won't have three servings of dessert).
  • * I won't cut out ALL dairy. I love my butter and can't give it up. Besides, I buy pasture butter, which I consider to be a superfood.

So I won't be doing my Whole 30 as the creators specify, but I will try to follow their principles.

I planned out a 2-week rotating meal plan. To makes things super simple, I'm having leftovers from supper for all of my lunches.

And without further ado, here are my meals from Week 1:

Whole 30 Day 1
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with fruit.
Lunch: Salad (greens with fruit and a ginger dressing) and an apple.
Supper: Venison Stew

I didn't have a lot of food made up the first day, so I was pretty hungry. I had to scrounge for snacks.

Whole 30 Day 2
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with potatoes and a side of fruit. You'll be seeing a lot of scrambles in this post...
Lunch: Leftover venison stew.
Supper: Chicken Salad. We were gone all day and supper was very late, so I forgot/was too tired to take pictures.

Whole 30 Day 3
Breakfast: Another scramble with fruit.
Lunch: Leftover chicken salad. Delicious.
Supper: Baked salmon with coconut oil potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Whole 30 Day 4
DAY 4:
Breakfast: (Surprise!) Scramble with fruit.
Lunch: leftover salmon and potatoes.
Supper: Burgers with cheese (a bit of a cheat), mayo, homemade ketchup and pickles with oven fries (another "sort of" cheat) and a side of blueberries.

Whole 30 Day 5
DAY 5:
Breakfast: Strawberry and banana coconut milk smoothie (I couldn't finish it all before lunch).
Lunch: Leftover burger and fries with half an apple filled with (homemade) almond/sunflower seed butter and avocado.
Supper: FIRST CHEAT MEAL! My sister invited us over for supper, which consisted of grilled shrimp, asparagus, and mushroom risotto (made by yours truly). We also had chocolate blackberry mousse cups and they were AWESOME. I was a good girl and didn't go back for seconds.

Whole 30 Day 6
DAY 6:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with (homemade) breakfast sausage and fruit.
Lunch: Orange chicken and broccoli stir fry (I added a bell pepper) with cauliflower "rice."

We were invited to eat out with our family at one of our favorite fast food restaurants: Hardee's.  I had a bite of Reuben's burger, a few fries and a few sips of strawberry malt. I was actually really full from lunch so the food wasn't that appealing.
I filled in the cracks later on with blueberries and cream, an apple with almond butter, and an orange.

Whole 30 Day 7
DAY 7:
Breakfast: Scramble with breakfast sausage and fruit. As you can see, I have to share about half of my fruit with Helen.
Lunch: We had lunch with our families! We were having burgers, and I was a good girl and didn't take a bun. But I DID have a couple of chips.

Whole 30 Day 7
Supper: We were celebrating my sister's birthday, so we made sushi! It was delicious.
Dessert: Instead of cake, we had Häagen-Dazs ice cream. So creamy and good.

In addition to these meals, I had snacks of apples with almond butter, dates, pickles, and other fruit.

I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing Week 1. I had a couple of slip-ups the first few days (I absentmindedly ate a crumb from Reuben's toast, forgot and put honey in my tea, etc.), but when eating at home I've stuck to the plan pretty closely.

Here are a few things I've learned so far:

  • * I eat without thinking a lot more than I realized. I've had to catch myself multiple times when I automatically reach for "forbidden" foods.
  • * Fruit is essential to survival. I don't know how I'd eat eggs for breakfast without it.
  • * I find that I can eat more of foods that would normally turn me off (e.g. plain avocados or cold salmon). I must just be hungry enough that anything appeals to me!
  • * On a similar note, I tend to eat more at meals because I know I'll get super hungry and want to cheat if I don't.

Let me know if you would be interested in seeing my 2-week dinner meal plan.

PS: This is the last day to vote in the Marx Foods Food Photography Contest. If you wish, you can head over to my photo and give it a like to vote for me!

Voting has ended, and I made to the final three! I'll let you guys know if I'm chosen for the winner (fingers crossed).

Triple Lemon Naked Layer Cake with Edible Flowers

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers
I have always wanted to make a cake decorated with flowers. I've admired many a blogger's gorgeous creation. 

So, when the folks at  Marx Foods contacted me and offered edible flowers for me to play with, I was quite excited. I agreed to participate in a little project they have going on because: A) What girl doesn't want to have flowers sent to her door? B) The farm that produces the flowers uses natural practices (like using garlic, clove, and rosemary oils to keep bugs at bay). C) I've been longing for flowers this spring - April in Minnesota is much too brown for my taste. And D) I thought you guys would really enjoy it!

Triple Lemon Cake
I knew I needed to make a cake to showcase the gorgeous blooms. Reuben is a huge lemon fan, so I settled on a triple lemon layer cake. Plus, lemon and mint pair well, and pansies have a mild wintergreen flavor. I flavored the cake and the frosting only slightly with lemon so the flavor wouldn't be too overwhelming. The lemon curd filling is quite assertive.

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers
The result was a delicious, moist cake with a rich, buttery Swiss Meringue frosting. I think it's the most beautiful cake I've ever created. 

When I served it to my family, they were a bit skeptical about eating the flowers (especially the guys). I made everyone take one. But they agreed that it made the cake extra special. My mom said it looked like a mini wedding cake! 

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers

Need more ideas for how to use edible flowers? Here are a few ways that I incorporated them into dishes:

  • * As a garnish for tea sandwiches (post coming with a recipe).
  • * Tossed into a salad (this definitely takes your salad up a notch in sophistication).
  • * Frozen into flower ice cubes (very cute).
  • * As decorations for cupcakes.
  • Mixed into butter (AKA compound butter).
  • * Added to flavored water for a gorgeous drink.

Let me know if there are any other ways to use edible flowers that I missed!

The project that I mentioned earlier that I am participating in is a food photography contest! 8 food bloggers and I have created dishes incorporating edible flowers. Each photo will be posted on the Marx Foods Instagram account. The top 3 photos that receive the most "likes" will advance to the finals. 

If you'd like, you can hop over to their Instagram and vote for your favorites. They will be posted on the 5th of May. I'll be posting a photo on my Instagram account once my photo goes live.

    I accidentally baked my cakes at 325 instead of 300, and they turned out fine, but they were domed. I recommending baking at the lower temperature so your cakes rise more evenly. 
    As I mentioned, I didn't flavor the cake and frosting very heavily with lemon so it wouldn't be too overwhelming. If you want a super bold lemon flavor, you can add more extract or some lemon zest to the cake batter and frosting.
    After photographing the cake, I decided to use op the remainder of the frosting and pipe rosettes onto the side of the cake. See photo below.

Triple Lemon Naked Layer Cake with Pansies

A gorgeous layer cake topped with fresh, edible flowers.

Recipe adapted slightly from Simple Bites and | Print
Serves 10

For the Cake:
2 cups organic cake flour (I made my own by mixing in cornstarch)
1 teaspoon baking powder,
3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup buttermilk (I used milk that was a bit sour mixed with vinegar)

For the Filling:
1 cup of lemon curd (about 1/2 of this recipe)

For the Frosting:
6 large egg whites (180 grams) -- I think it's much easier and more accurate to measure using weight.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 sticks (1 3/4 cups) butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

For the garnish:
Mint leaves
Fresh Pansies (make sure your flowers are pesticide-free!) 


To make the Cake:
1) Grease, flour, and line with rounds of parchment paper three 6-inch cake pans. Place the racks in your oven in the middle position. Preheat to 300 degrees F (150 C).
2) Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
4) With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Add the buttermilk slowly while the mixer is running. It may look separated - this is normal. Add the rest of the flour and mix just until moistened. If needed, you can give it another gentle mix with a spatula.
5) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, around 30 minutes or so (it took less time for me because I forgot to use the lower temperature). Remove from oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting (you can place them in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 10-15 minutes to speed up the cooling process).

To make the Frosting:
1) Put a pan with about an of inch of water onto the stove and heat until simmering.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Place over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160F (71C), or until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved.
3) Place the mixer bowl onto the base of the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until very stiff, glossy peaks form (it took about 10 minutes for me). The bowl should be cooled off at this point.
4) With the mixer on low, add the little butter pieces one at a time, mixing a bit before adding another piece. At this point the frosting may look curdled, but don't freak out. Keep mixing and it will become smooth.
5) Mix in the lemon extract.

To assemble the cake:
1) Place a bit of frosting onto your cake stand or a plate. Put the first layer of cake down. Pipe a ring of frosting around the edge. Fill the ring with half of the lemon curd. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat the filling process. Put the last cake on top, bottom side up. Put the whole cake into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
2) Crumb coat your cake, filling in any gaps between the layers, and put a good layer of frosting on top of cake. Scrape away some of the frosting from the side of the cake to make a pretty "naked" cake. Or you can use up the rest of frosting by piping on rosettes, or whatever you wish.
3) Top with mint leaves and pansies. Serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Triple Lemon Layer Cake | Buttered Side Up
Example of piped rosettes on the side of the cake.

Many thanks to Marx Foods for providing the flowers for this post. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

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