Getting into the Nitty Gritty

Last Saturday, our awesome foodie friends Dave and Nicole came out to our house for dinner. They have cooked for a us a bunch of times and are amazing chefs! Seriously – they could open a restaruant. And it would probably be extra awesome because they also have a fabulous garden in their backyard so they would know how to make their food super fresh.

Suffice to say, I really wanted to impress them since I’ve never  had the opportunity to cook for both of them before (I made pizza for Nicole once!) I knew that in order to make  a good meal, I’d have to keep it simple.

So I decided to make grits with kale from Cheap Healthy Good and Maple Baked Beans from Oh She Glows. I made a simple green salad on the side, they brought the champagne, and we went out for dessert so it was a super relaxed and fun evening. Sometimes I take on too much, but I felt like it was a good balance this time.

I sent Alex to the store to get the ingredients for the grits, and unbeknownst to me until yesterday, he actually got millet grits instead of corn grits, which turned out to be one of those extremely fortunate accidents because the grits turned out so tasty that I’m making them again tonight!

The beans were also amazing, even though they got left in the oven a bit too long and dried out a bit. It just means I have to make them again to enjoy them at their fullest. The recipe original called for a slow cooker, so I was impressed that I managed to adapt it to my oven with no problems.

I, naturally, forgot to take pictures of them or of the meal that night, so here are some photos of the leftovers the next day.

Kale Millet Grits
Adapted from Cheap Healthy Good  


  • 1 pound kale, washed, destemmed, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3–6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2–3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/3 cups millet grits
  • 5 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • black pepper to taste

Wash kale, remove stems, and chop.  Heat large, heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat, and add olive oil. Toss in garlic and cook for two minutes. Add a handful of kale at a time, stirring and adding more when it wilts. When all kale is added, pour a few tablespoons of water in, cover, and simmer for 7-9 minutes until kale is soft.

Bring 5 1/3 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Slowly add grits while stirring. Mix in almond milk, Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continually stir grits for five minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Fold in sauteed kale and serve hot with alongside baked beans.

I made our grits super thick on Saturday night – I might try for a softer consistency tonight.

OSG Maple Baked Beans – Oven Style 


  • 4.5 cups cooked navy beans (approx. 3 small cans)
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Handful of dried cranberries


Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. If using canned beans, rinse and drain. If using dried beans, soak and cook. Mix drained and rinsed beans with chopped onion, molasses, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, salt, tomatoes and cranberries in large bowl.  Pour mixture into a casserole dish that has a lid. Cover dish and place in the oven for 4 – 5 hours. Check beans every so often to make sure they don’t burn.

Combined, these two recipes made one of the best meals I’ve ever made, especially given how little effort needed to be exerted.

A lesson to me to make low-energy recipes for entertaining! I can only hope Dave and Nicole also enjoyed it as much as I did.

We went to Bi-Rite for ice cream, which was possibly the best decision ever made, even though we had to huddle under an awning to avoid the rain while we were eating it. I know some people can’t do cold dessert on cold days. I am not one of those people.

Thanks to Dave and Nicole for coming out from East Bay to take a chance on my cooking!


One thought on “Getting into the Nitty Gritty

  1. Pingback: Smokin’ Hot | The Sixth Letter

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