Huckleberry Thinn | Food Will Get You Far – Wildly Nutritious Recipes

A food blog with nourishingly hearty, wildly nutritious & irresistibly delicious food craft inspired by my adventures and designed to motivate yours.

Leave a comment

pineapple pico de gallo

If I had my way, it’d be the way of the West. The real West… where the sun really sets.

The Pacific has always had power over my palette. Early on I took on taquerias and tequilas and hunted down horchata-serving hole-in-the-walls where I drank salsas (you’ve seen me do this) and only ordered things with double ll’s because I liked the way the waiter sounded back: rellenos, tomatillo, pico de gallo.

Now, I’m landlocked, yet seeking the soulful, belly-full spirits of California-Mexican culture. Nothing  feeds my fresh-mex mood like a heaping bowl of hand-made pico de gallo (pee ko day guy yo).

Pico de gallo (translation: rooster’s beak) was so named because it was–and still is in my home–eaten by pinching garden pieces between the thumb and forefinger, a nonchalant eating style true to my feeding-frenzy family I so dearly miss.

The too-easy tomato ensemble plays the star sauce in kick-back taco night and makes cameo appearances to sophisticate more complex dishes by modeling chunky kaleidoscope flavor. When wrestled with cooling cilantro, tomatoes take on a peaceful persona, and when paired with pineapple, pico de gallo is a Pacific poem full of palm tree palapas. And with a finish of lime’s bite, pico de gallo can cut through and enliven fatty dishes like carnitas, arrachera or a simple cheese enchilada.

Quickly made and devoured even quicker, pico de gallo is a too-good-to-be-true topping that truly is good for you. Dig in.

Huckleberry Thinn’s Pineapple Pico De Gallo
1 pound tomatoes (cherry, roma, green zebra, whatever)
1 onion (yellow, sweet, red, whatever)
1/3 cup chopped pineapple
1 handful chopped cilantro
1 chile of choice
juice from 2 limes
some salt
some pepper
* taste and modify
pico de gallo
Nutrition Facts Thinn Style
Never thought Mexican food could be medicinal? Margarita Monday aside, fresh-mex can offer medicinal properties with its heavy use of cilantro. Cilantro is the leaf of coriander, which belongs to the Umbelliferae family. For more than 7,000 years, coriander has been used across the world as a carminative and digestive aid. But cilantro can do more than just soothe guts and butts. Some parts of the world use its essential oil to treat diabetes. Other cultures harness the herb for inflammation. It has also proven to hold antimicrobial properties and cholesterol-lowering effects. Most notably (I’m actually trying this), cilantro can work as a heavy-metal detoxifier by extracting harmful agents like mercury and aluminum from fat so the body can flush it out.
West Side.

Leave a comment

kale basil pesto

If you tell me you don’t have time to cook, you’re a liar. I’m not huckleberrying with you.

I was harshed for ‘having too much time on my hands’ for creating my own pesto from someone who suggested it was easier to trade cash for a can. They missed the point. A point that is missed all too often by all of us, including me. But pesto reminds me to be present.

We all have enough time; especially to take care of ourselves. But for some reason, we’ve dirtied our brains with delusions of finite time. Our days progress and our binding schedules consume our hours to a point where we become a victim of the day. Suddenly, it’s dinner time; another time we’re tied to. And for some, the easiest way to buy more time. In minutes jars and boxes can release their contents with little effort, but then we just overlooked the most important opportunity of the day; an opportunity to use our hands.

For once, I’m not talking about nutrients. I’m talking about the act of cooking and the practice of being present.

Meet my friend cortical homunculus.

cortico homunculus

He’s grotesquely disconfigured, and so are you. He is a model that proportionately illustrates how much of your brain is devoted to specific body parts. Homunculus has huge hands because a human’s hands are richly innervated and require a lot of brain to function.

cortico homunculus 2

Why is this important? The act of cooking is hand work. Cooking offers our hands a way to express themselves and therefore, provide deep brain stimulation and fulfillment. Homunculus proves humans are handy and designed to use digits. If we don’t, we dismiss human nature and bore our brain cells. Overtime, this dullness can lead to darkness.

Cooking is a hand-to-brain dance that awakens the mind to here and now. Manual labor is meditative. It’s an all-senses-in artwork that trains the brain to be calm and mindful. And to think this all rooted from an afternoon of blowing off biochemistry to blend basil with garlic; something I didn’t think I had time for. Homemade pesto takes minutes and it’s worth everyone of them.

Happy Heart Farm Kale-Basil Pesto

* try with raw kale and omit parmesan for your first batch (my preference) and modify if needed.

July Taste Recipe Card_Kale Basil Pesto

kale basil pesto

Make time, people. Or the world will take it away from you.

~ Ideas inspired by a conversation with Dennis Stenson of Happy Heart Farm. The happiest man on Earth.

Leave a comment

spring lettuce spring rolls via Happy Heart Farm

We’ve evolved from animals that once instinctively knew how to eat—hunt, gather, grow—to animals that rely on others to eat. As our brains grew more complex, so did our foods. We’re growing older, yet sicker than ever. How have we become smarter, yet dumber at feeding ourselves?  The issue: the ever-expanding gap between man and his food source.

The man-to-food gap isn’t the only thing that’s bigger today: waistlines and genetically modified tomatoes are blowing up to scary, unprecedented sizes. There’s correlation in this messy matter, but there’s an easy answer.

The closer you are to your food, the better:

1. economically (put your buck in your backyard).

2. nutritionally (picked-this-morning organic foods contain the highest level of nutrition).

3. proximity (eating lengths from your plate has dirty repercussions).

You are the one responsible for closing this gap. Know where your food comes from. Eat home and neighbor-grown food. Know your community farmer. Here’s a story about mine, and I hope it inspires you to find yours.

Happy Heart Farm, a Fort Collins CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is my Neverland; a place I never want to leave. Happy Heart grows love as deep as its beet roots. It’s a place you go to find prized produce and the most sincere hug in Fort Collins (if you’ve hugged Dennis, you know what I’m talking about). When asked what Happy Heart grows best, Dennis the farmer smiled “community”.

When you harvest at Happy Heart Farm, food is not an errand. Weekly pick-up replaces congested, fluorescent grocery stores. Eating becomes entertainment. And your dollars are invested in dirt.

Your vegetables were gifted from the Earth hours before pickup (and maybe still a tad dirty), and the same loving hands that raised them are helping you fill your bags with a week’s worth of the best nutrition you can put in your body. Every charm of basil is blessed with a heavenly happiness that imparts optimal nutrition and divine ground-grown goodness. A difference you can truly taste.

When you support Happy Heart Farm, you’re not just signing up for a weekly bucket of bounty; you are supporting biodynamic farming—a practice that takes organic farming one step further. Biodynamic farming nourishes the planet with love and nutrients—thus the food it gifts—for human healing power beyond conventionally-grown plants. So it’s cost-effective-check- more nutritious-check and better for the planet-check. Oh! and biodynamic farming results in healthier plants that have maximal ability to photosynthesize, which means floods of flavor for you.

Read more about Happy Heart and biodynamic farming.

Happy Heart is my produce playground and I’m the luckiest girl in the world to get to cook for farm members using the best ingredients found in Fort Collins: beautiful basil, garlic scapes galore, sugary peas, colossal chard leaves and so much more.

Stay tuned for Happy Heart Taste recipes via Huckleberry Thinn

happy heart prep

June Taste Menu: Happy Heart Farm Spring Lettuce Spring Rolls

inspired by


spring roll 1

step 1: finely chop your favorite fillings: avocado, mango, cucumber, carrot, chard, cilantro, mint, basil, shrimp, you name it. 
spring roll 2

step 2: dip the rice paper in warm water and wait three seconds to remove. It might still be a little stiff, but DON’T DIP LONGER!
spring roll 3

step 3: fold the rice paper in half.

spring roll 4

step 4: stack your toppings at one end of the crescent and tuck and roll. 
happy heart spring rollhappy heart spring roll 2

Spring rolls make for an awesome backpacking meal, picnic or lunchbox snack.

Photos courtesy of Susan Kelly.

Leave a comment

portobello kale sauté in peanut sauce with coconut rice

For more reasons that just sharing our names, kale is my number one. Top of my food chain. Mom, you named me after a vegetable and you wonder why I want to be a dietitian.

Why does this once-thought-of hamburger adornment have growing real estate in supermarkets? Because this steroidal lettuce so humbly stuffs itself with the human body’s favorite biology.

The ruffage and its ruffles of nutrient riches has manifested an unmatched kale kingdom governed by vitamins, proteins, minerals and most notably—more calcium per calorie than dairy foods.

I’m talking about nutrient density, and kale is the cream of the crop. Nutrient density—a per capita concept—rates food on a nutrient- and fiber-per calorie ratio. With a score of 100, green leafy vegetables set the standard for which other foods are scored.

In our house, kale’s been promoted from side salad-status to the crown crop. And we’ve had to start growing our own kale kingdom to keep up with demand for this recipe…

Huckleberry Thinn’s Portobello Kale Sauté in Peanut Sauce with Coconut Rice

step 1: start coconut rice

2 cup brown rice

1 cup coconut cream

3 cup water

¼ cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut

add 3 cups of water to your favorite rice-cooking pot > add 1 cup coconut cream (Thai Kitchen or Whole Foods brand) > add 2 cups brown rice > bring to boil, then cover and simmer until rice has absorbed the liquid > fluff rice with fork and add ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut > form a rice bed on a plate.

step 2: portobello sauté

4 large portobello mushrooms

4 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon grated ginger

Soy sauce to taste

kale 3

thinly slice 4 portobello mushrooms > add a chunk of coconut oil to a hot cast iron skillet > chop 4 garlic cloves and  1 tablespoon fresh ginger and add to portobella gills before sautéing > sauté portobellas until toasty brown, but keep mushroom integrity * see note below.

kale 2

step 3: peanut sauce and kale sauté

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup no-shit added creamy peanut butter

½ cup water

1 tablespoon Siracha or like red chili sauce

Splash of rice vinegar

Honey to taste

heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a deep stock pot > add 2 tablespoons grated ginger and 2 cloves of chopped garlic > cook until they express steam, then add ½ cup water > stir to create a ginger, garlic paste > add ½ cup peanut butter and mix into ginger garlic paste > add a splash of rice vinegar > make it spicy with Siracha > make it sweet with honey.

strip 2 bunches of washed kale leaves from stem and add leaf ribbons to the peanut sauce > coat kale evenly and continue to heat until kale cooks through slightly > add kale sauté to bed of rice >  top with bella steaks, jalapeño slices, peanuts and cilantro.

kale 1

 *On Mushrooms

… err .. well, you know what I mean.

Mushrooms are a delicacy. Because they are delicate, they need to be cooked perfectly to preserve their dignity. Sound sauteing theory says you should crank up the heat, extend the cooking time and leave breathing room in the skillet to avoid rubbery soupiness. Mushrooms don’t begin to brown until their water has been steamed off. If you overcrowd your pan, it will flood with funky fungi water waste. Too dry and it will fry. The trick: once the mushrooms relieve their water from high heat, lower the heat and finish sauteing.

Leave a comment

surfers’ sundae

In the midst of a glorious Colorado spring—family visits, burgeoning chard, lightning storms, open Old Town patios—I’ve got the biochemistry blues… low Vitamin D stores from sitting in a window-less, summer-less classroom with projections of phenylalanine.

In need of sunnier mornings, I’ve started listening to surf video soundtracks and swapping French Roast for a bright Costa Rica blend. Encinitas surf trip in 6 weeks, so I’ve replaced bland breakfasts for surfers’ sundaes to lift my sea spirit and begin bikini body preparation.

encinitas 06 002

Huckleberry Thinn’s Surfers’ Sundae

sundae 3

1 serving Chobani plain Greek yogurt

Unsweetened shredded coconut

1 spoonful chia seed

1 handful raw almonds

½ banana, sliced

1 speer fresh pineapple, sliced

½ mango, sliced

sundae 2

Proof that pretty food can induce happy emotions—and that you can make yogurt glow without granola—surfers’ sundae will shift landlocked mornings to moods of love and lounge. The tart yogurt brings life to the pineapple’s purity, mango’s mellowness and banana’s creaminess for a sunrise you’ve only tasted on vacation.

What’s more—greek yogurt (especially plain Chobani) contains 18 grams of protein. That’s more than 2 eggs. A protein-rich breakfast will provide sustenance, enhanced energy and clear concentration—necessary for D-Street day dreams.



you are what you eat… you should eat where you are. or at least, who and where you want to be. H.T.

Leave a comment

backpacker’s banana bread, cloggers and zucchini tempeh pasta

Memorial Day is to honor the freedom our fallen friends so bravely fought for. Freedom to eat. Freedom to travel. Freedom to live as we please. And how I celebrated—the freedom to live in the wilderness, cook in the dirt and shower in a waterfall without permission.

Backpacking. Some revel in its draw to “get away from it all”… “escape reality”. For me, it’s the opposite. It’s “what it’s all about”. “Getting close to it all”. Wilderness is where reality is restored.

There’s truth in worn river beds and sunken alpine lakes. There’s modesty in mountains. There’s honesty in moonlight. And there’s rawness in remote cooking.

Free from confining kitchen walls, outdoor cooking defeats modern man’s cooking culture. No graters and gizmoes, no butter, no bacon.  It’s attractively primitive.

Dismiss the dutch oven and forgo the fridge. Backpack cooking is bare. It requires less tools and more strategy. Most importantly, it should involve high nutrition standards.

Open air vastness and dirty pots impart on food flavor in ways unmatched with technologic kitchens. Never overlook the opportunity to eat with the earth and drink with the stars, and don’t waste your time with power bars.

Enter a backpack eating adventure that celebrated the freedom to be dirty and domestic:

hessie 1

Earth Escapade 1: Huckleberry Thinn Goes to Indian Peaks Wilderness

The key to a hunger-free backpacking trip is to plan EVERY snack. Every meal. Every ounce of water. The next step is to invest in one of these: MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove. The best $40 we’ve spent.

hessie 6

Disclaimer: my belly and nutrition ego are too big for a backpacking trip over 4 days. The meal plan described below is unrealistic for a week-long wilderness trip that would require dehydrating food. While it can be done, I haven’t done it yet. I’ll let you know when shit gets gnarly.

Day 1:

After sleeping in a snow-barricaded dugout alongside the river, we woke to a dull sunrise and stirred just enough blood circulation to start coffee. With a 4 mile hike to Lost Lake ahead, we bulked up on fiber, fruit and protein in a no-cook breakfast (the stove was occupied by coffee).

Backpackers Banana Bread

spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla > layer on chopped banana > dress with a handful of Thinn’s GORP Gone Wild and drizzle with honey and chia seeds > bulk up

hessie 10hessie 11

Tip: Tortillas pack better than bread and promise a solid, no-rot source of calories and fiber. They are wholesome and versatile and offer a divine texture when cooked on a hot stone in a fire.

Fueled with calories and coffee, we bushwacked our way through unmarked trails, cavernous tree roots and scaled unscalable boulders in an effort to preserve our front row view of the longest, recreating waterfall we’ve ever seen.

hessie 4

We met the final stretch masked with remnants of melty February snow, which thankfully relieved when we rose to eye level with the cat tails of Lost Lake.

Almighty Great Divide!

Sheltered by a barricade of Indian Peaks, we trekked the shoreline of this pint-size lake that made up for its size with its rugged ruffles of pines and a crater demeanor that promised a fresh catch.

With my feet in the alpine sand and fly fishing pole in hand, I needed a no-cook lunch to kickoff a busy afternoon of doing absolutely nothing.

hessie 7


Spread avocado chunks on a whole wheat tortilla > generously cover with favorite hot sauce > roll > eat > repeat

hessie 9

Named for it’s obvious effect on the body (butt .. not heart), a clogger lends a bathroom break after rounds of cowboy coffee. Cloggers fed my high school self… beans and rice on the beach were scarce and I usually had a backpack of Dad’s avocados.

Hours past and cloggers clogged. I earned blisters from hours of undulating an unlucky fishing rod. The only thing lost about this lake was trout. So we tried Old Chub chum.

hessie 5

Here fishy fishy.

No fish. So we plan B’ed dinner.

Zucchini Tempeh Pasta

Boil a pot of filtered water in a cook stove or fire place > Add a cup’s worth of whole wheat penne noodles > took until tender, then remove noodles and save for later > crumble a brick of tempeh into the emptied cook stove and heat through > add defrosted Thinn’s Chipotle Red Sauce > chop squash into match sticks and add to sauce > mix together

Tip: Plan ahead and reserve a batch of Thinn’s Chipotle Red Sauce. Pour spare sauce in a small sandwich bag and lay flat in freezer so it freezes in a packable shape. Right before departure, add the brick of frozen sauce to your pack and it will defrost in time for dinner without perishing.

Tempeh offers a perfect packable source of protein that won’t perish like meat. Freeze tempeh alongside red sauce.

hessie 12

Go here –> Lost Lake from Hessie Trailhead

hessie 8

1 Comment

arugula citrus salad with cotija and puffed pepitas

Side salads have long been sidekicks. But after hours of slaving over a home style hero, it’s easy to neglect the side salad’s potential and instead dress it with dignity-decreasing cucumbers and flat balsamic.

Overshadow no more!

Side salads present an opportunity to complement and even enhance the complexity of main dish flavors. Side salad super power must not be overlooked.

On a quest to find a mighty-enough match for Thinn’s enchiladas, I stumbled into the local tienda and found my hands on a knob of cotija — the Mexican curd-like cousin to Greek’s feta. The cotija’s subtle saltiness craved the earthiness of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sweetness of citrus. And so it ensued: a simple side salad with an abstract flavor spectrum worthy of sidekicking fish tacos, tortilla espanola or a punchy posole.

Buen Provecho!

Thinn’s Arugula Citrus Salad with Cotija and Puffed Pepitas

1 bunch (~1/2 carton-size) arugula

1 orange

1/4 lime

handful raw unsalted pepitas

handful fresh cilantro

2 thumbs of cotija cheese

squeeze orange and lime juice over arugula and fold lettuce until evenly coated with citrus (add more if desired) > add finely chopped cilantro to dressed arugula and disperse evenly > meanwhile, in a non-stick pan (no oil!) toast your green pepitas until they tan and puff and pop > add enlarged pepitas to salad and top with crumbled cotija


Nutrition Facts Thinn Style

Modern herbalists prescribe arugula to aid with fiery digestion. Another sidekick super power for balancing super spicy Mexican food.  But more impressive is the peppery leaf’s potential to motivate innate detoxifying enzymes in the body.

So tip back a Michelada and let the food do the work for you.