vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!cotoneaster // the first messpin it!
Straight up: I’ve overextended myself this holiday season. Oh, you too? I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a milkshake and a pat on the back right about now. Emotions run high and the frantic aspect of it all doesn’t seem to offer any relief (like when I overheard a bundled up elderly woman kindly asking where the chocolates were at Target the other night—cried. Like big time.) Something frothy and sweet, and maybe just a little assurance that all of our efforts are worth it could certainly help in some way. This is true in the busyness of life in a general sense; not just the month of December.

So I’m here to help with a simple little treat and a virtual high five for all the things you got goin’ on–the multiple shopping lists, the handmade hostess gifts, conveying sentiment in a way that feels just right, making the best cheeseboard ever, hitting that high note in “silent night,” flooding your sugar cookie cutouts with precision, foraging for decorative twigs to tie on your packages, planning a perfect Christmas morning breakfast, strategizing your boxing day scores well in advance, working in some time to partake in Beyoncé’s “visual experience” (you got to), shovelling the driveway like a boss, buying enough dog food to make it over the obligatory 3 day holiday retail closure, syncing your twinkle lights up to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, giving up and realizing that just telling someone how grateful you are for their light and a big hug is probably more than enough… I know that you got all of this on lock.

I’ve got mad faith in the healing properties of a chocolate shake, like a magical salve for your entire being. My little version here has an earl grey-steeped almond milk that totally brings it, and some premium vanilla from vegan baking pro/total sweetheart Ashlae. I add a little citrus zest to the milk to really enhance the bergamot in the tea. Since I went the extra step on the steep + chill earl grey milk move, I rely on some particularly good chocolate ice cream from the people at Luna & Larry’s to make this come together quickly. If you have time to make your own, this recipe without the hazelnuts would be just right.

Anyway, short and sweet today. I probably won’t be back with a post until the new year (but I’ll still be doing stuff on Instagram, Twitter + Pinterest, no doubt). Once I get through all of the things, I’ll be taking a couple days to just chill the most. Hope you all have a restorative and full holiday. Sending my big hugs for the start of 2014 too. It’s gonna be a big one, I can feel it :) Thanks as always for your love and kindness here. xo

vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!
vegan earl grey chocolate shakes
serves: 4 small servings or 2 very adult portions
notes: I like to blend a shake with ice to get it super frothy, but this is personal preference. Leave it out if you want a smoother kind of feel.

shakes:
1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened)
3-4 earl grey tea bags, or 4 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
strip of orange zest
splash of maple syrup (if you used unsweetened almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 scoops of non-dairy chocolate ice cream
big handful of ice (optional)

to serve:
coconut whip
shaved dark chocolate

In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk, tea, and orange zest to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and cool the mixture completely in the fridge (or place the pot in some snow if you have it in your area–worked like a charm for me).

In a blender combine the earl grey milk, maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and ice. Blend on high for a minute or so, or until you have a creamy, smooth and homogenous mixture. Pour it out into glasses and serve with coconut whip and shaved chocolate if you like. Enjoy immediately.

 

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  • These look wonderful, and I sure could use one right now (6am -that’s ok right). So overextended even though I planned not to be. Oh well, it always works out in the end (true words from my 7 year old!)ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)19/12/2013 - 9:21 am

    If any proof exists that our souls are on the same plane, it’s the fact that I read this post WHILE getting down to the Beyonce experience. For maybe the fifth time.

    Shake looks so, so boss. Big hugs for a present-(both kinds)-filled 2014, and for shakes at all times of the year.ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized19/12/2013 - 9:35 am

    you are a total genius, I love this blog!ReplyCancel

  • Crista19/12/2013 - 10:08 am

    i LOVE this.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey19/12/2013 - 10:24 am

    You’re constantly coming up with the most BOMB beverages. Love the combo of soothing earl gray and the comfort that chocolate provides :) Merry, merry and happy, happy in 2014 xo!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan19/12/2013 - 10:29 am

    Girl you are steeping that milk and making it all earl grey up in hurrr! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica @ conveganence19/12/2013 - 10:52 am

    I wish I had this in front of me right now! Think I’ll prep the tea mixture and coconut whip on Christmas Eve so I can enjoy this on Christmas morning :)ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt19/12/2013 - 12:36 pm

    These sound amazing. You are a total genius girl!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle19/12/2013 - 3:13 pm

    Um, ya, this looks wonderful Laura! You’re a star. Merry Christmas and enjoy the R&R. Looking forward to more from you in the New Year! xoReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe19/12/2013 - 6:12 pm

    I laughed out loud at the “buying enough dog food to make it over the obligatory 3 day holiday retail closure” part. I’m totes with you there. Especially because my dog eats raw food and therefore I can only buy a couple of weeks worth at a time. Sounds like you deserve a break – ENJOY!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet19/12/2013 - 8:10 pm

    This looks stupefyingly delicious. Tea-infused anything is magical.

    Thank you for your words on the festive craziness – this year I’m feeling a very relaxed Christmas is required, with lots of warmth and love.

    Wishing you the merriest of Christmases, Laura! XXReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway19/12/2013 - 8:36 pm

    This looks perfect! Ill be making one as soon as we get home. Happy holidays to you love, I hope they slow down for you soon xxxReplyCancel

  • Kathryn20/12/2013 - 7:14 am

    Happy holidays Laura. Wishing you lots of love and laughter for 2014 xoReplyCancel

  • […]  Image Source […]ReplyCancel

  • sarah21/12/2013 - 10:52 am

    Oh, I love you. Every night for the last month, my kids ask me to sing Silent Night to them before bed – and half the time I ace that note, and the others, well, they don’t mind.

    This looks so good! I’ve overextended myself, too, and could sure use this shake.

    Much love to you, Laura. I hope your holidays are merry and bright. And let your heart be light. xoReplyCancel

  • Ashlae21/12/2013 - 4:02 pm

    HELLLLLLL YES! So stoked the vanilla snuck through security. I made a chai version of this for my post-workout indulgence – used cinnamon ice cream (it’s all I haaaaad), hella cacao powder, and protein powder. So good. You rule.ReplyCancel

  • dana21/12/2013 - 4:49 pm

    smitten smitten smitten with this post/recipe/these photos! Love it all, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Feyer Salo21/12/2013 - 9:35 pm

    I am going to try this over the holidays. So gorgeous. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey21/12/2013 - 11:53 pm

    Oh, YES. I just made a big batch of Sarah Kieffer’s peppermint bark, and am getting quite close to overextending myself. These look brilliant. Happy holidays dear friend!ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush22/12/2013 - 2:10 am

    Sometimes Christmas is synonymous with stress, which is a terrible thing to admit—but in the end it always wraps up to be perfectly sentimental, festive, memorable, and all the things that the holiday season is meant to be. Beautiful photos as always, and three cheers to Earl Grey. I’m returning to London soon, and the first thing I’m gonna do is have a huge steaming mug of it.ReplyCancel

  • ines22/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    yumiiiiii, what a great and beautiful way to drink christmas spirit ;)ReplyCancel

  • autumn30/12/2013 - 8:27 am

    healing power of ice cream all the way. For some reason, I would have never thought of putting early grey and chocolate together, but it makes so much sense (citrus+chocolate=magic). I hope you’re enjoying a restful internet break.ReplyCancel

  • QueenSashy01/01/2014 - 9:55 am

    I so overextend myself every day of the year as an excuse to get a chocolate shake… Have a happy one!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia03/01/2014 - 10:30 am

    When you first mentioned the earl grey shakes I was hoping you would post the recipe! Although earl grey is not my number one favourite tea (that honour goes to Darjeeling, swiftly followed by hochija and chai), citrus and chocolate is one of my favourite flavour pairings so immediately warmed to the idea of a bergamotty chocolate shake!
    Also, I cannot get your idea for a vegetarian charcuterie platter out of my mind, so many possible ideas – I hope you post some more recipes for that too!ReplyCancel

  • dervla (the curator)09/01/2014 - 1:14 pm

    wait, are you serious? earl grey AND chocolate?! My two favorite flavors ever. I’ve had them in a cookie, but NOT a drink yet. YUM Happy new year, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Jourdie03/02/2014 - 9:55 am

    Dude. Earl Grey reminds me of the months I spent in Paris as a teenager, and milkshakes remind me of being a kid in California. This is basically all the great memories of youth put together in the best way, because shakes are totally the best answer to all things. Thanks bunches. Happy late New Year!ReplyCancel

  • whitney14/04/2014 - 11:30 pm

    i love your blog. it is my favourite cooking blog. i made your lentil soup the other night and i screamed out happiness. it was incredible. i will make these shakes tonight. thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie23/04/2014 - 10:55 pm

    All so lovely. Makes me almost wish it were December again:)ReplyCancel

  • Links I Love05/12/2014 - 1:38 pm

    […] delicious egg nog recipe I’d like to try […]ReplyCancel

  • Weekend Notes | Camille Styles08/12/2014 - 8:42 am

    […] rue magazine, the first mess, seventy nine […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Photo by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and chocolate shakes; they look delicious and are tremendously simple to make. (Originally from The First Mess // Pinned to my board Christmas […]ReplyCancel

  • […] How delicious do these earl grey chocolate shakes look? This cardamom cake also looks incredible. Oh, and these cookies are deliciously […]ReplyCancel

  • Caroline13/10/2016 - 1:12 pm

    I love chai lattes so I have a feeling I will be loving this earl grey shake recipe. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • […] Vegan Earl Grey Chocolate Shakes by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

mustard roasted broccoli pâté with leeks + lemon // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli pâté // the first messpin it!
Hypothetically speaking, if I had some sort of restaurant or space that served food to people that were A) willing to hang out with me and B) willing to pay for it, I would serve a version of this–on a big wooden board with lots of pickled veg, warm olives, a pot of mustard, really good bread, maybe some radishes and other crunchy roots. I could pair it with some other little veg-based charcuterie-ish concoction (I’ve been working on a few). There would always be a broth-y soup AND a puréed one with baller garnishes. There would be solid brown liquor representation and homemade, super warm-spicy ginger beer on draft. And salads that totally wouldn’t suck. Eggplant bacon + avocado BLT’s (working on that one too). Oh, and vegan earl grey chocolate milk shakes, some cozy bench seats, not-too-heavy, but just-heavy-enough silverware…

I might have got a little carried away there, but you get the idea. I like that rustic, all hands in, no fussin’ around kinda vibe implied by charcuterie/cheese boards. The preparation requires a bit of forethought, but the result is worth it. You get a variety of goods that are easy to present/enjoy with people you like. Obviously these sorts of things are traditionally made with meat. The potential for variety in flavour and texture is kind of exciting when you think about vegetables in this context though. My inspiration came from rillettes, which is generally prepared by slowly cooking cuts of salted pork (or other meats, sometimes fish etc.) in fat until soft. From here, the cooked meat is raked and mixed with the fat until a paste begins to form. The sheer amount of fat is what sets the mixture and allows it to keep for a while.

So yeah! Not entirely my thing, but sub in some broccoli + hella good extra virgin olive oil in for the off cuts + pork fat? Count me in. Ina Garten is kind of my queen when it comes to entertaining basics and her grainy mustard roasted potatoes are pretty much the best. I love broccoli with the sharp zing of a mustard-y vinaigrette, so I thought I could intensify that flavour union by taking my home girl Ina’s approach. I threw in a leek with the roasting broccoli to get some sweeter, caramelized qualities. Once everything’s soft, it goes for a whirl in the food processor with lemon, tons of olive oil, a little extra mustard, salt, pepper and some parmesan/nutritional yeast. I’ve tried this with both cheesy options, and can honestly tell you that they are equally good.

I save a bit of of the lightly blitzed vegetables to garnish this pâté of sorts and then pour a nice cap of EVEN MORE olive oil on top. This creates a textural thing and helps to preserve the brilliant green. I worked for a chef that grumbled to me once about a certain/uncertain cook at the restaurant making a batch of vinaigrette with all extra virgin olive oil and then storing it in the fridge overnight. The one litre container of it was solid and obviously not fit for immediate usage upon our realization at lunch the next day. Cool thing though? That approach gives this riff on rillettes the solid heft we’re looking for. Someone else’s mistakes = my vegetarian charcuterie success. Anyway, this recipe is pretty easy, has normal/everyday ingredients and comes together pretty fast (minus chill time). Be a holiday hero to your plant-y friends. C’mon, do it.

Also! I’ve been making some stuff in other places lately. Here’s a little rundown with links: sweet potato chips AND homemade pumpkin spice lattes for Food 52, vegan + wholesome eggnog over at The Chalkboard and some GF + vegan maple chai jammer cookies for a little sweets fête at Daily Candy. More to come too–holidays hip hip! :)

mustard roasted broccoli "rillettes" // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli "rillettes" // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli pâté // the first messpin it!

mustard roasted broccoli pâté with leeks + lemon
serves: makes about 1/2 a litre
notes: If you’re opting for the vegan version with nutritional yeast, you will need a bit more olive oil in the mix to achieve that extra moistness and go a bit heavier with the salt too.

3 cups broccoli florets
1 leek, white + light green parts only, rough chopped
1 tbsp heat-tolerant oil, such as grapeseed
1 tbsp + 2 tsp grainy mustard, divided
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt + pepper
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 – 1 1/2 tsbp lemon juice
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese OR 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for the top
flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the broccoli florets and leeks with the heat tolerant oil, 1 tbsp of mustard, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Once everything is coated, spread the mixture out on the baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the broccoli is finely chopped. Scoop up a spoonful to garnish the tops of your rillettes with. To the food processor, add the remaining mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parmesan/nutritional yeast. Pulse until everything is combined. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil in through the feed tube. Continue to run the motor until you have a smooth, lightly chunky paste. Remove the bowl from the food processor and check the mixture for seasoning and adjust.

Scrape the rillettes mixture into your serving vessel and scatter the reserved fine chopped broccoli bits over the top, Pour a solid layer of more extra virgin olive oil on top. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or until the rillettes + oil layer are mostly solid.

Sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt on top of the rillettes before you serve it with sliced bread, olives, pickles, vegetables etc.

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  • Sophia12/12/2013 - 9:52 am

    This looks and sounds amazing – since moving to Italy I have slowly but surely adopted the Italian way of cooking vegetables long and slow in ample amounts of olive oil. It completely changes the flavour of cauliflower, broccoli etc. And a vegetarian charcuterie platter? Very much on board with that. Oh and that aubergine BLT too please – I have played with making aubergine bacon a few times, nothing perfect yet but even the first attempts were so good. Cannot wait to see your recipe! Also, I love that I am not the only one who thinks about the food they would serve in their hypothetical restaurant/cafe … I have my own list of pastries and cakes I would serve in my cafe. Congrats on the various features too!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley12/12/2013 - 10:33 am

    I loved reading the vision of your restaurant and this idea is for veggie charcuterie is insanely creative. I’m just disappointed you left out the pork fat. ;) xo!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda12/12/2013 - 10:37 am

    Heck yes! This looks absolutely incredible, I love the idea of adding some veggies to a charcuterie platter. I am not a vegetarian but always prefer vegetables, so having something green and fresh to balance out the weight of meat and cheese would be welcome. I’m putting this right at the top of the things I must make for holiday get togethers!ReplyCancel

  • Kris12/12/2013 - 10:47 am

    Let’s start that restaurant! :)ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan12/12/2013 - 11:22 am

    I adore this! It is so hard to find vegan/vegetarian charcuterie and this is bomb ass awesome girlfriend.ReplyCancel

  • michelle12/12/2013 - 11:34 am

    What Kris said, for real. Why isn’t that a real place? My favourite meals are often just salads and good bread and cheeses and dips. Picnic dinners. I guess that’s why mezze is so appealing.

    Make it happen, girl. I’d be there all the time, even if it was in Niagara :)ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt12/12/2013 - 12:40 pm

    This is pure genius. It’s so hard finding delicious vegetarian charcuterie. Can’t wait to give this a whirl!ReplyCancel

  • I love this recipe, genius! And the first paragraph of this post had me transported to a magical place…sounds like you need to start a restaurant!!ReplyCancel

  • Amalia12/12/2013 - 1:07 pm

    I hope you open a veg restaurant one day! Love all your recipes and looking forward to trying this one as well.ReplyCancel

  • hannah12/12/2013 - 1:39 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t get past Earl Grey Chocolate Milkshakes before I had to comment.
    Oh. My. God. Died. In. Heaven.
    Please say this is a recipe you have to share?! xxxReplyCancel

  • Ashlae12/12/2013 - 1:43 pm

    I’d totally pay to come hang with you + eat your grub. Maaaaybe after you’re finished with the house, a veggie heavy cafe could be your next project – if you haven’t already had it with cleaning up drywall dust. ;)

    PS – High fives to being on Team Ina. She’s such a badass.ReplyCancel

  • LaceyAnn12/12/2013 - 1:55 pm

    Your restaurant would be my favorite. For sure.ReplyCancel

  • Kerianne12/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    I’m with Hannah – that earl grey milkshake sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen12/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    I would never, ever have thought to use broccoli in pate form, but this sounds fantastic! I love the spicy mustard & salt combination.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn12/12/2013 - 5:59 pm

    This is pretty much my favourite way to eat. I’d cross the ocean just to come and eat at your restaurant.ReplyCancel

  • Eric12/12/2013 - 11:00 pm

    Your idea of a restaurant seems wonderful!

    Your charcuterie board seems so neat as do the cozy benches, and Earl grey milkshakes(yum!)

    I hate (too strong a word maybe? too-heavy silverware too! :D

    Also, I’ve followed your website for months, but I’ve never had the time to comment on a post, because I’ve been busy, sometimes I don’t see the e-mails, etc. But, I checked my e-mail today and here I am! I’ve been meaning to say that I love your website layout and design (I enjoy the pink, green and grey colors) and that your photography is really well-done and your recipes are so neat! This is a really creative recipe! The broccoli in the little glass jar is so pretty too, as is the dark brown counter-top you have, they go really well together.

    Thank you for having such a neat website!

    Also, your eggnog recipe seems really interesting and I can’t believe how you make all these recipes and posts for your website as well as others, you must be fairly busy!

    I think I might try the eggnog recipe soon!

    Good luck with you other holiday recipes too!

    Best,

    -EricReplyCancel

  • Jodi13/12/2013 - 3:01 pm

    You little resto of dreams sounds like my kinda place, especially if your serving up dishes like this! Awesome recipe!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoon15/12/2013 - 4:42 am

    My family-in-law loves paté, and I just can’t stand the liver-y flavor. This, however, is my kind of spread. Also a beautiful, fresh, and light option for us warm-weather-holidayers. I’m adding it to our menu for early Christmas celebrations with the Aussie relies next week.ReplyCancel

  • sasha16/12/2013 - 5:44 pm

    Hi, love your posts and made this at the wkd, it was special to say the least, great flavoursReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily17/12/2013 - 8:54 pm

    Hell yeah! Wanna be partners in crime? I could fall in love w a place like that! l.o.v.e. this. OXOX gorgeous photos. pinned ;)ReplyCancel

  • Peggy @ cooksbybooks.com19/12/2013 - 10:28 am

    Made this broccoli pate for our book club holiday get together and it was wonderful. Everyone asked for the recipe so I am posting a link to your blog from my posting for the evening. Happy Holidays! Only recently discovered you blog and I am becoming a big fan. Love the photos too!ReplyCancel

  • Julia21/12/2013 - 4:04 am

    This recipe looks amazing and like the perfect thing to have on a small platter of cheese and olives on Christmas Day. Problem is, I’ll be travelling from the 23 to the middle of the 25th – think I could make this ahead of time (the 22nd) and it would still be delicious on the 25th?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright21/12/2013 - 9:11 am

      Hi Julia, I think you could make it that far in advance. The green colour might fade ever so slightly. Just remember to put a decent cap of oil on top of the pâté before you refrigerate it.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julia21/12/2013 - 1:17 pm

    Thank you, Laura. We will definitely be eating this on Christmas Day. I love your blog – thank you for the all the love and work you put into it.ReplyCancel

  • […] it was a big hit.  I got the recipe for this super easy to make wonderfully zingy pâté from The First Mess blog. How could you go wrong with broccoli which I love dressed up with a grainy tangy mustard and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] made a Mustard Roasted Broccoli “Rilletes” with Leeks and Lemon  featured on The First Mess, a blog I recently subscribed to. She has some wonderful recipes I am discovering. The mustard […]ReplyCancel

  • […] isn’t all for carnivores, and this Mustard Roasted Broccoli Pâté with Leeks and Lemon from The First Mess will be a hit with meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Serve with bread, […]ReplyCancel

  • Diana01/01/2014 - 6:05 pm

    This may be the most delicious meal I’ve ever prepared. I served the pate with toasted pumpernickel bread and red wine. My “savory tooth” was completely satisfied. Another miracle of healthy, satisfying and delicious food. Thank you for sharing your recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] crush: mustard roasted broccoli pate with leeks and lemon. [The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Halley08/01/2014 - 6:35 pm

    Okay, I’ve made this twice now and it is absolutely the most delicious thing that’s ever come out of my oven. I can’t believe how easy it is! ALSO. I threw in some garlic confit to roast with the broccoli and all I can say is: Do. This. Now.ReplyCancel

  • haruspex12/01/2014 - 8:55 am

    Mm. What if you made this with Brussels sprouts? (Which I happen to have.) I’ll let you know if I try it.ReplyCancel

  • Alanna24/01/2014 - 1:49 pm

    Broccoli rillettes?! That is crazy genius right there. I can imagine how vibrant all those flavors taste against tender broccoli and sweet leeks. Can’t wait to make this – thank you for sharing your beautiful recipe.ReplyCancel

  • CSA Week 14 «21/02/2014 - 8:34 pm

    […] course.  I also recently discovered broccoli is really good with mustard.   Try this recipe for roasted broccoli pate; I made it almost two months ago and I’m still obsessed with […]ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly01/05/2014 - 8:21 pm

    Just wanted to say that I made this tonight and it was awesome. I saw it and knew I had to try it, but I tried not to get my hopes up about the flavors… but it totally delivered! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley25/06/2014 - 7:45 am

    Am totally eating up the vegetarian charcuterie idea. And FYI – if you had a restaurant, I would most definitely b) hang out with you and, b) pay for your good food.ReplyCancel

some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!some festive fruit // the first messpin it!satsumas // the first messpin it!
Do you get in those traps where you tell yourself (and everyone within a decent listening radius) that you’re soooo busy, but you’re also like, perpetually stuck in highly sneaky, time-wasting downward spirals? The end of the year brings a lot of heavy, life-y things into the foreground. How did we grow and change? What can I do differently? How can we make it easier? Add to that the million tasks, work, the gift guides, the merry-making… I think it’s easy to feel suffocated by your own life this time of year. Obviously some perspective plays into that, but you know what I mean.

All of the things have been veering on the edge of completely-out-of-my-control lately, so every night before I go to bed, I make a list of things I have to accomplish the next day (FYI: surprisingly effective strategy for getting a good night’s sleep) (Also, magnesium is some good shit). There’s the normal work stuff on those lists, but there’s also things like”remember to put chia seeds on the oatmeal,” and “eat some vegetables before work,” or “drink at least 3 litres of water,” and my fave: “pause and stretch before getting out of bed.” Cool thing? Silly as those reminders seem, I actually accomplish those little bits. The list makes for some structured intent on the wellness front–less of a wishy-washy, completely distant goal. It’s all right there in a quantified or qualified sense under a bolded date in capital letters.

So the legit work seems to follow along when I’m penciling out my stretches and veggie snacks. You know how they would strategically schedule nap and snack times in kindergarten? I guess there’s some wisdom there. I’ve been so contentedly living by the list that I’m experiencing pre-emptive relaxation guilt over our upcoming 48 hour sojourn in Denver this weekend. This also happened last Sunday when we took a little drive into the city to see a friend for a leisurely brunch. On the way there, my head was muddied with ideas of things I should have been doing instead of taking an entire day away from it all. Once I had that warm coffee cup in my hand, I stopped thinking about maximizing any renovation productivity, ingredients I had to buy for whatever shoot, or how my holiday work schedule could translate into any remote concept of free time. The meal and the gathering around it put me in the moment and brought some sense of relief. I think we all look for that in certain ways–whether it’s from a long day at work, unforeseen challenges in day-to-day being, the effing deluge of Black Friday emails, those self-imposed trappings of guilt, or obsessive list-making. Relief is release, however you arrive to it.

I decided to throw together this little warm-spiced fruit deal for our brunch gathering and  I was so pleased with how it turned out–actually one of the better, simpler things I’ve made in a while. I just had this loose idea for a particularly pretty winter fruit salad with pine-y rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla rooibos tea, a good hit of maple and cool mint. The different bits of citrus and pomegranate are all juicy and tart, the persimmon is soft and delicately sweet, and I like to use bosc pears for a lightly crisp bite. The woodsy sweetness from the syrup helps to veer this dish away from being a simple bowl of fruit, which I generally love to serve alongside a traditional dessert at a dinner get-together anyway, just so that the option to go lightly is there for anyone in need.

satsuma, grapefruit, pomelo // the first messpin it!pomegranate // the first messpin it!rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!
festive fruit w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup
serves: 6 – 8, depending on what else you’re serving
notes: I don’t think a persimmon needs to border on rotten to be ripe. If you’re holding it, it should have the mush factor of a lightly worked-in hackie sack. Also, my favourite vanilla rooibos of EVER is by Mariage Frères (and it comes loose or pre-bagged).

syrup ingredients:
1/4 cup maple syrup
big splash of water
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla rooibos tea
1 sprig fresh rosemary

salad ingredients:
2 ripe persimmons, sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled + segmented
2-3 satsumas or clementines, peeled + segmented
1 pomelo, peeled + segmented
2 bosc pears, cored + sliced
1 pomegrante’s worth of seeds/arils—>Life Hacker comes through with a (EFFIN LONG) tutorial
juice of 1 lime
handful of seeds (I used sesame + pumpkin)
1 sprig of mint, leaves sliced fine

In a small saucepan, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Put it over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, swirling the contents here and there. Once it’s boiling a bit, take it off the heat and set aside. Allow it all to steep for a good 10 minutes or so.

While the syrup is steeping, peel and chop all of your salad ingredients. Throw them all into a large serving bowl, reserving a bit of the mint and seeds for the top. Toss everything in the lime juice. Strain the syrup in a fine mesh strainer right over the bowl of fruit. Toss it all together and garnish with the leftover mint and seeds. Serve it up right away.

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  • Jason @ Plenty Of Zest05/12/2013 - 7:17 am

    The colours of this salad are stunning Laura! And I don’t know how you got the shot of the pomegranate, but it’s brilliant :).ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway05/12/2013 - 9:22 am

    Beautiful! All of it xxReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/12/2013 - 9:57 am

    I’m intrigued by the vanilla rooibos syrup and those black sesame seeds. Just beautiful! I guess I would be the happiest person if I would have this fruit salad for breakfast.ReplyCancel

  • steph@stephsbitebybite05/12/2013 - 10:11 am

    This is so gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)05/12/2013 - 10:14 am

    This is one of the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen, Laura! Love the contrast of all of the colors and sesame seeds. Your photography always blows me away.

    And totally feel you on the holiday craziness. I feel like time is disappearing before my eyes!ReplyCancel

  • Alex05/12/2013 - 10:55 am

    I really love that shot of the pomegranate. Stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ One Window Kitchen05/12/2013 - 10:57 am

    Love this so much– the words, the pictures(!!!), the sound of all those flavors coming together. I agree that writing down tangible, doable tasks is so helpful in giving us some calm and (a very, very tiny bit of) control over our lives.ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon05/12/2013 - 12:35 pm

    i love the hope you’ve inspired in me with this post. totally going to try the list thing. need it!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley05/12/2013 - 12:46 pm

    I feel like our lives are some what of a mirror image right now and your words express exactly how I feel but can’t quite put into words. So, thank you for this. All of it…words, food, photos, and general awesomeness. xoReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt05/12/2013 - 1:59 pm

    Loved this post. i can totally relate to all the craziness going on this time of year and feeling out of control. At least we can retreat to our kitchens. Beautiful dish as always.ReplyCancel

  • This is so simple and gorgeous! I love the simplicity and the combination of colors, brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • Christine05/12/2013 - 4:28 pm

    Laura, you have a masterful way of gracefully addressing deep and troublesome topics in a tone that feels entirely accessible, relatable, and calm. This irony of the beshackling liberation tactic – here, the list-making strategy that both relieves your anxiety and chains you to guilt – is well familiar to me, but its force is only as strong as we allow. Good pine-and-maple-mellowed fruit, shared around the communal table, is a good antidote to that and other bad-vibe forces. Thanks for creating this.ReplyCancel

  • molly yeh05/12/2013 - 5:38 pm

    pause and stretch before going to bed. i have needed that in the worst way this week and i’ve been too busy, like, pinteresting or doing dumb stuff! thank you for the reminder :-)

    i love how you make such colorful dishes, even in the winter! and your use of rooibos is brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • HOLLY05/12/2013 - 6:51 pm

    Laura! Has anyone ever mentioned that you need to make a cookbook, CAUSE YA NEED TO MAKE A COOKBOOK- I’ve actually considered printing these all out and having them bound (for personal use obvi) but for really, cookbook.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey05/12/2013 - 7:06 pm

    I probably should start making lists so that way when i wake up in the middle of the night I’m not an anxious freak! I will try that technique asap. I was totally thinking up a similar fruit salad, of course not with your genius syrup, but this is more beautiful than I could have imagined – for sure going on my to-make list!ReplyCancel

  • Margie05/12/2013 - 7:12 pm

    With my crazy stressed out mind I took the time to read your whole post, look at your beautiful pictures and read every word, and it calmed me. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen05/12/2013 - 8:48 pm

    This has to be the most gorgeous fruit salad I’ve ever seen. Now I really want to go out and find a pomelo!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe06/12/2013 - 4:33 pm

    you LITERALLY nailed it, girl. always love your truth.ReplyCancel

  • […] This salad.  There are no words for the beauty of the photos. […]ReplyCancel

  • Heather07/12/2013 - 11:38 am

    Stunning! And what do you know, I had already signed up for a winter fruit salad for a potluck party this weekend and, this recipe, could not have dreamt up something so beautiful and wonderful if I tried (vanilla rooibos is my fave, and then drizzle it on fruit…say whaaaat?!). Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn08/12/2013 - 1:23 pm

    Love how you take ingredients I think I know and make me look at them in a whole new way. A beauty of a post. And I’m definitely stealing that list-making trick, I’ve struggled to get to sleep recently and here’s hoping it will help!ReplyCancel

  • […] recommendation.  I think she was referring more to the texture though.  As Laura so eloquently describes, persimmon’s are at their best when they feel like a “well worn in hacky sack” […]ReplyCancel

  • la domestique10/12/2013 - 10:37 am

    I am seriously craving fruit and veg right now, pretty much ready to skip the holiday indulgence and start the New Year’s cleanse. I like how you’ve combined fresh, healthy fruit and festive, spiced flavors here. Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth11/12/2013 - 1:25 pm

    This salad has been on my mind since last week. For every meal I plan, a voice whispers, “citrus salad.” So there’s that, but also I am very fond of your advice. The holiday stress came down full-force this week, and I’m going to make a point of remembering to stop and stretch or slowly sip some tea. I so feel for you as you get set up in your new place. Not knowing where anything is is a special kind of hell.ReplyCancel

  • Hari Chandana14/12/2013 - 11:55 pm

    Looks so colorful and gorgeous.. Awesome pictures too.. first time here.. happy to follow your space :)ReplyCancel

  • […] Festive Fruit with Rosemary + Vanilla Rooibos Syrup ~ The First Mess. As if fruit could get any sweeter and more swoon-worthy. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • Alanna30/01/2014 - 2:35 am

    These photos are so exquisite – I can’t stop staring.. and the flavors sound amazing. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • […] 8. Rosemary & Vanilla Rooibos Syrup from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Oven BBQ Chicken Kale Pasta Salad Winter Fruit Salad with Vanilla Rooibos Dressing Chocolate Pots de Creme with Sea […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper for a colorful, protein-packed side dish. 6. WINTER FRUIT SALAD Remember that weird mixed fruit salad with a dollop of Cool Whip your grandma used to serve? This […]ReplyCancel

rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!
This is something that I would make for me and me alone. My man isn’t a lover of mushrooms and seriously? How is it that none of my peeps see the gloriousness of the things-on-toast meal?! It’s a dish that lets me doctor up what I have by employing some other things that I have when there’s a golden pocket of me-time available. A thoughtful and meditative slap-dash, if you will.

I’m generally into this tray-lunch thing as of late. I roast a bunch of things with herbs, lemon, spice, or whatever’s around. Sometimes I transfer the goods to a bowl. Sometimes I eat right from the tray. It’s warm and I get to make some time for myself over it, while I bounce between the renovation duties, freelance work, emails, actual scheduled work, and tiniest fibre-like shreds of free time. I’ve never been “too busy to cook.” Maybe that’s obvious? When the world is spinning, I tend to go inward a bit and cooking helps. When I lived alone, I happily enjoyed a lot of solitary meals, but always looked forward to my post-school life where dining companions would surely be infinite and constant. My current schedule varies from the rest of my world’s seemingly unanimous 9-5, so yep. Still plenty of solo late lunches scarfed at 3 pm right before my shift starts on any given Saturday.

I’ve even been waking up earlier to cook alone too. I’m on this steel-cut oat porridge thing that demands a little extra time, which is kind of immediately annoying, but ultimately for the best. I sip a warm drink and stir, focused on that one thing. I don’t have the headspace for a large batch that can be pre-portioned and reheated throughout the week, and that’s honestly fine. The sleepy straining of tired eyes eventually fades, and I find there’s more strength for all of the things that need doing.

So this is a bit of a deluxe, but still completely simple, flying solo kinda meal (although I did design the recipe for two servings since it’s probably a bit more practical for most). Fun fact: the first restaurant family meal I ever enjoyed as an actual cook was a fancied-up version of mushrooms on toast. I remember being a bit rattled, sweaty, and slightly anxious when I sat down to the plate after service. It was calming in all of the predictable ways though. Holiday wildness is officially on us now, so it seems even more important to take advantage of those peaceful and simple moments. Seize them by putting the good stuff on toast, people :)

rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût prep // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messpin it!
rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast
serves: 2
notes: Any mix of sliced mushrooms is totally excellent. I love shiitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire, so I mix them half and half with creminis. Also, before I add the vegetable stock, I simmer it with the mushroom stems for a little bit–like 15 minutes or so. It’s just to intensify the mushroom flavour.

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped fine
10 ounces/heaped half pound mixed mushrooms, stems removed + caps sliced
splash of sherry vinegar
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce (Annie’s brand is my fave)
scant cup of cooked chickpeas
1 cup vegetable stock
big splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk, something rich like cashew or coconut is preferable
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or non-GMO + organic cornstarch if you’re cool with it)
salt + pepper
2 thick slices of good bread

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sautè or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir. Once those are a bit fragrant, add the rosemary. Sauté until the shallots are really translucent. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir them around. Add the sherry vinegar, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and chickpeas and stir. Once the mushrooms have started softening just a bit, about 3 minutes, add the stock. Stir everything up and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third and the mushrooms are quite soft. Add the splash of non-dairy milk and stir. Season the whole thing to taste. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot with a little bit of the liquid from the pot. Make a little slurry and then add it back in to the pot. Simmer until lightly thickened. Keep warm.

Toast or grill the pieces of toast. Lay them in shallow bowls. Ladle the mushroom and chickpea ragoût on top. Finish with a bit more black pepper. Serve hot.

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  • Elenore b zahn27/11/2013 - 6:32 am

    Laura! Oh, love! I have spent the past couple of free time moments (pretty fleeting with little Caspian) reading your a-amazing texts, drooling over your insanely gorgeous food photos, loving the pics from your home (congratulations!!!) and just wish I could HUG you! Maah!! I am grateful for the energy you put into this space, all your vibe-y stuff (haha we are so much alike!) all of it infused with all kinds of gooooodness.

    Take care, honey! Take a sip of that energy drink and pause. Wish I could hop over and help you paint and stuff!

    EReplyCancel

  • I could eat mushrooms straight from the pan. Like it so much. Nice idea for a breakfast. I like to experiment in the morning.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica (bakecetera)27/11/2013 - 8:35 am

    mushrooms and chickpeas are two of my favourite foods, but i rarely put them together while cooking. this ragout is beautiful, and looks absolutely delicious! i can’t wait to try this out. happy thanksgiving!ReplyCancel

  • Kirstie Young27/11/2013 - 9:38 am

    Love this lunch! Beautiful simple ingredients and delicious images, just glorious.ReplyCancel

  • Brianne27/11/2013 - 9:46 am

    I made some Cook’s Illustrated recipe once with mushroom stems simmered in vegetable stock. I was skeptical, but HOLY COW does it give that stock killer mushroom flavor! I picked up ingredients of a similar vein as this for a fancy dinner for one last week–my home is 1.5 hrs south of where I go to school, so I’m alone in a strange kitchen on weeknights–but it did not turn out as indulgent as this. I know what to do differently next time!ReplyCancel

  • tara27/11/2013 - 9:57 am

    Heck yeah to all of this. I love mushrooms on toast, and the chickpeas sound a brilliant addition.ReplyCancel

  • jacqueline27/11/2013 - 10:13 am

    Hi! Have you tried/thought about using chia seed gel (strained of the seeds) as a thickener???? I’ve tried it for some things but not others – I want to try it for this! Thanks for a great recipe. Pinning it now!ReplyCancel

  • carey27/11/2013 - 11:03 am

    Oh lord, this is so the thing I want to eat right now. I am currently without chickpeas in the house — an occasion so rare that I keep forgetting to buy them when I’m at the store. And mushrooms. There are so many mushrooms, but they’re all reserved for Thanksgiving dishes. UGH. (One of my usual bouts of hangriness came on quick this morning, so the fact that I can’t eat this asap feels like a horrible cosmic injustice.)

    P.S. Tray lunches (and dinners) for life. My favorite.ReplyCancel

  • ana27/11/2013 - 11:25 am

    I agree with you! Having time to cook is making time to cook. And it’s therapy! Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Katy27/11/2013 - 12:28 pm

    “I love shitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire” <– yes, so true, I often do this with food. It's too bad amazing food can be super expensive sometimes. This looks delicious and I love the idea of a tray lunch, roasting veg on toast. Nice to have a vegan option. Pinned!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine27/11/2013 - 1:32 pm

    so sad your man doesn’t love mushrooms!! This looks stunning, I’ll definitely be making it soon. (ps. mushrooms + sherry vinegar is the best, isn’t it?)ReplyCancel

  • Katie @ Produce on Parade27/11/2013 - 4:16 pm

    Wow, this looks so rustic and delicious. What a great recipe! I just used up a bunch of mushrooms in a spaghetti sauce and I wish I had see this sooner. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar27/11/2013 - 4:17 pm

    I dig this so hard! Yum!!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet27/11/2013 - 6:32 pm

    This looks crazy delicious! I’m a big fan of solo meals, and usually things end up being poured into bowls or over toast. Thank you for your wonderful words that I connect with in a million different ways XReplyCancel

  • Stacy27/11/2013 - 7:29 pm

    YES, GIRL, YES. I would come over and eat toast with you any day if I could. xoReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ The Fresh Direction27/11/2013 - 9:57 pm

    I’m so the same way. Cooking always helps to centre me. I can never too busy to make a meal… even if it’s just a simple one… which can often involve something on toast (NEVER too busy for avo toast, am I right?) This looks delicious, Laura! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • […] HAVE TO MAKE THIS […]ReplyCancel

  • Skye28/11/2013 - 1:17 pm

    Chickpeas are one of my most favourite foods – so flavoursoem and such a wonderful texture. Love how you’ve cooked them here with rosemary – what a fabulously rustic touch.ReplyCancel

  • Julia28/11/2013 - 10:48 pm

    i love everything about this post. thank you, once again.. for marvellous recipes and for reminding me to slow down & savour what i put into my body.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn29/11/2013 - 5:21 am

    I do love a good solo meal; there’s something so luxurious and decadent about spending that time cooking for your own pleasure alone. Things on toast is always a good way to go.ReplyCancel

  • Cristina29/11/2013 - 11:01 am

    Tray-lunch! Now I have a name for the thing I haven’t stopped doing since the weather turned. Lately, my favorite consists of mushrooms, onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes with thyme (spooned over a soupy pot of beans). Before that it was fennel and apples with fennel seeds and chili flakes.ReplyCancel

  • Elle29/11/2013 - 6:37 pm

    Laura,
    I love beans and bread! The combination of flavors in this recipe are fabulous! Love the site…keep it coming!
    ElleReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily01/12/2013 - 2:06 pm

    Well I for one adore all things mushrooms! I honestly think this is my idea of a perfect comfort dish. Pinning it to make next week. Thanks for sharing. Stunning photos!ReplyCancel

  • […] Rosemary Mushroom + Chickpea Ragoût […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • […] List via Buzzfeed, recipe via The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] thefirstmess.com […]ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food04/12/2013 - 12:14 am

    I’m all about putting things on bread… and when mushrooms are involved, well, let’s just say I don’t think I could be married to someone who didn’t eat them. But that’s just me. I’m judgy like that. ;-)ReplyCancel

  • MaryJane Cooper04/12/2013 - 3:43 pm

    Hi, being of Lithuanian descent, I LOVE mushrooms, and this recipe sounds intriguing, but I don’t particularly like rosemary; is there a milder herb you would recommend to substitute?
    Thanks, MaryJaneReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright05/12/2013 - 8:29 am

      Hi MaryJane, you could certainly use thyme or sage in place of the rosemary.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Andrea05/12/2013 - 3:07 pm

    This is my lunch for the rest of my life.ReplyCancel

  • […] sure what to make with mushrooms? Try one of these: Walnut-mushroom veggie burgers Rosemary mushroom chickpea ragout Mushroom & chard bruschetta Mushroom millet leek frittatas Roasted king oyster mushrooms Mixed […]ReplyCancel

  • Megan17/12/2013 - 3:57 pm

    My hubby and I have already made this four times! We love this recipe as a quick dinner, especially with sliced tomatoes. Also great for a traditional English-style breakfast too! We love your blog and have made a number of the recipes. When are you coming out with your cookbook? :)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth24/12/2013 - 9:51 pm

    I made this tonight… it was so simple and delicious! We ate it up. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • ranae29/12/2013 - 8:31 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner, using portobellos! Instead of bread, I reserved two of the portobellos and roasted them, then topped with this ragout. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic!

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra08/01/2014 - 7:43 pm

    Eating this right now for a late lunch. Holy moly, it’s goo-oood! Definitely making this one again!ReplyCancel

  • […] It is just so damn simple, but I never thought much of sharing this until one of my fav bloggers Laura at The First Mess started sharing her love for tray lunches. Chop. Roast. Eat. What’s not to love? Turns out I […]ReplyCancel

  • […] pulled out all kinds of not your normal weeknight recipes to try :  Crab Spinach and Coconut Soup, Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast and Quinoa and Pea Spice Croquettes.  We each made one: I had soup, Helly the ragout and Lisa, […]ReplyCancel

  • Donna01/03/2014 - 5:20 am

    What a dish, thanks for the recipe!!!! It’s delicious! I made a couple of substitutes:
    * added handful of re-hydrated porcini mushrooms,
    * used the soaking liquid for porcinis as the basis for the ‘veg stock’ (added another depth of mushroom flavour), and
    * doubled the fresh rosemary as I love herbs.

    To serve I sprinkled more fresh rosemary leaves and freshly picked rocket from our garden to add an edge of pepper. I’m saving this recipe and making it again, and again,….and again. Thanks so muchReplyCancel

  • […] Avinžirnių ir grybų troškinys Vegan Rosemary Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast […]ReplyCancel

  • […] spread (that post is coming soon) so I did a search and came across a recipe from Laura over at The First Mess. I adapted her recipe a bit because a) I love sun-dried tomatoes and b) I also had a bunch of them […]ReplyCancel

  • kim19/06/2014 - 12:44 pm

    My husband and I made this last night and it was delicious! Hit the spot! Thanks for the beautiful pics and delicious inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • […] for casual, festive dining. From top-left: 1. Rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast – The First Mess 2. Brown Sugar Grilled Peaches with Ricotta, Honey and Crispy Prosciutto – Cooking for Keeps […]ReplyCancel

  • allison15/01/2015 - 5:34 pm

    This was really delicious! And so filling! thanks so much for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] an hour later. Bright side: amongst all the chili and cinnamon rolls, I was prepping this delicious rosemary, mushroom and chickpea ragout; bright, simple fall slaw; and cauliflower, kale and chickpea curry pot (I subbed sweet potatoes […]ReplyCancel

  • Lee24/11/2015 - 11:06 pm

    Thanks for a fantastic recipe! I made it over polenta instead of toast, which fancied it up a bit. A bowl full of comfort.ReplyCancel

  • SAN ANTONIO + LINKS I LOVE25/11/2015 - 1:07 am

    […] of food, I made this veg recipe last week, and it was […]ReplyCancel

  • […] that I make myself quite frequently. So, I was excited to stumble across this vegan recipe from The First Mess I loved the idea of bulking the recipe out with a few healthy extras and turning it into a main […]ReplyCancel

  • April18/03/2016 - 1:59 pm

    Does this freeze well? I’m looking for good protein meals for my sons lunches but need to make in batches and freeze.ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/03/2016 - 2:34 pm

      Hi April, since this dish is thickened with arrowroot, I’m not sure how well it would perform after freezing. After a little bit of googling and reading, it seems like arrowroot is fine to freeze and doesn’t lose its thickening powers after thawing. I haven’t tried this myself though, so can’t speak from personal experience.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julie02/10/2016 - 1:43 pm

    Thank you for this recipe; I’ve had it pinned for ages and finally made it tonight. It was a hit! My husband had it with toast, and I took it with rice to absorb the extra liquid. We each loved our versions. So easy too!ReplyCancel

  • Jayani18/01/2017 - 12:11 am

    Mushroom <3 You can't go wrong with them. This sounds delicious btw. Thank you :)ReplyCancel

my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!maca // the first messpin it!raw cacao powder // the first messpin it!my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messpin it!
The discussion of poutine came up at work the other night because, yep, there was poutine for staff meal (and a giant salad so just relax a bit there). My coworker was telling me how she had recounted a story to some classmates at the yoga studio that she frequents. There was a visit to a local place that specialized in the ubiquitous Canadian calorie bomb. And then at the end of her story, sort of predictably, her peeps at the studio were grossed out by her totally personal food choice. Then I got home that night and saw this tweet from my friend, kindly asking for a halt to the same form of judgement. Funny how the universe always finds a way to communicate the fierceness of your own thoughts.

I have to tell you, the raw food experiment didn’t go well for me and there was no way I was forcing myself to carry it out over a whole month on principle alone. It’s not like I was half-assing it either (totally gave it the full ass) (had to). My body and boots, firmly planted in the cool grey of November in southern Ontario, were not adapting. There were bouts of lightheadedness, shivering despite wearing two sweaters, so much bloat, breakouts, constant hunger despite constant eating, and, most importantly, things that would normally just roll off my back became completely emotional huge deals. A good example: normally I would relish any opportunity to smash up something that causes me grief, but in the midst of clearing out the gross old plaster in our kitchen, I had to leave the room and then later cry my eyes out to Mark about how we would never, ever, EVER live there happily. I can be easily defeated sometimes, but this was shaking me to the core. In that moment, I knew some truer part of me, the part that sees and knows, was being denied.

When I went to the internet with my concerns (pro tip: if you want to keep your sanity, don’t ever do that), I read so many things that went along these lines: “Your body is just purging all of the evil things from the total misery that was your pre-raw life. It’s detoxifying, It’s AMAAAZING. Purification process!!! Etc.” I would never suggest that these well-meaning people are wrong, but as soon as a pile of rubble and some extra hours spent with a pry bar forced me into a crumpled shell of my former self, any concerns for vibrance and purity washed away real quick.

The admission of it here was weighing on me heavily though–the enthusiasm I shared early on, the acknowledgement that I’m extremely fortunate to have access to enough food if I’m perpetually hungry, the ridiculousness of going into it in the early stages of Canadian winter. When you’re privileged enough to have it regularly, your food choices become a belief system on some level and this one seemed too objectionable once I had some distance from it. In sum: I was worried what people would think, which is hilarious because when my coworker friend told me about that judgement-heavy moment at her yoga studio, my knee-jerk reaction was “OH FUCK THAT.”

So there’s all of that and yep. I’m feeling a lot better–the much needed warmth has returned to my bones, there’s satiation with less it seems and there’s that old tenacity creeping up in the challenging moments again. Since we could all use some of that good energy that buzzes in a low and warm kind of way, whatever our food/life choices, I thought I would share this everyday recipe with you. It’s a nice hot drink for morning calm, or any time you need it really. The base of it is any nut/seed/grain-based milk, maca powder, something to sweeten it up and a touch of raw cacao and cinnamon for my personal taste. Maca comes from a Peruvian root vegetable and it has a bit of a butterscotch-y/malt/sweet potato thing going on flavour-wise. I find it really does deliver in terms of an energy boost, but it’s less of a jolt than caffeine.

Sometimes after a cup of it, I’ll feel a little impulse to stretch out to the very tips of my toes and fingers and just breathe a little life into every inch of myself. It’s restoring/life-giving without being over the top, which I love. Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a go. I’ve seen maca in grocery + health food stores, bulk shops, and on Arrested Development, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you’re curious. Lastly, since I’ve been talking about house stuff with such frequency, I thought I’d include a couple little snaps I took the other day in this post (below). They definitely have a “in progress” kind of feel, which is true to life in all the ways you could imagine.

Sending all my good energy this week :)

home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!home // the first messpin it!
my good energy drink
serves: 1
notes: There’s so many options for add-ins with this. I chose a teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a star anise pod, but you could reach for fresh ginger juice, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, vanilla etc etc.

10 ounces milk of your choice, unsweetened is preferable (I did a mix of coconut and almond)
2 tsp maca powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for dusting if you like
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp raw cacao powder
1-2 star anise pods (so, so optional)

I start this drink by blending everything in an upright blender (except the star anise if you’re using it) to get all the powdery bits incorporated. Then I gently heat in a small saucepan over medium heat (with the star anise) until it’s really simmering. You could easily skip the blending step and just whisk the mixture lightly while it’s heating. Drink it warm with a dusting of cinnamon.

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  • SouthernSpoonBelle20/11/2013 - 8:24 am

    Tried going on a raw stint a couple years back , and my mood/stomach/everything was so off kilter that I had to spend half an afternoon curled up on the floor under my desk at work. It’s not for everyone : )
    Your posts/recipes always seem to come from a place of creativity and honesty (without a shred of judgment)– thanks for that! And for this lovely warm drink, will file away for Aussie winter.
    Good luck in the Canadian cold season and house reno. The place looks lovely, those leaded glass windows are ace.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)20/11/2013 - 8:40 am

    There’s a whole list of reasons I love this post, and I could copy+paste all the lines down here…but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just say: you go, girl. Always.

    Best vibes being sent your way as the house adventure continues. Hell yeah for listening to yer body.ReplyCancel

  • Mary20/11/2013 - 9:24 am

    Woo! I for one, am glad you are back to cooking! Sometimes you gotta leave just enough to want to come back. And it’s comforting to hear that others have the same frustrations with judgey friends and food. At my work I like to eat in my office…even if you eat healthy or people have good things to say about your food it just gets a little old everyday to hear the peanut gallery’s comments about your lunch! One of those things that will probably never change – food is such a ritual for many and an insecurity for others.

    But good for you for trying something different and trying to change your perspective! And at the same time glad you’re back :)ReplyCancel

  • Merri Live Local Greens20/11/2013 - 9:28 am

    Well done for trying! I couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be – definitely not for me! We need warming foods in the cold UK winters! This drink sounds perfect; I try not to drink caffeine, but a perk me up in the morning is always needed. Will give it a go. Oh, and the house looks fab! Good luck with it.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway20/11/2013 - 9:30 am

    Love your honesty Laura! I love raw foods and at least half of my diet (if not more) consists of this, but extremes have never worked for me either. Good on you for doing what’s right for you and giving the middle finger to anyone who cares to judge xxReplyCancel

  • Ashlae20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

    I had a similar experience with raw food about two years ago. My doctor was certain it would stabilize my hormones and regulate my bowels and give me glowing skin and blah blah blah. But four days in I was so bloated I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and I had developed hives all over my chest and stomach. Super sexy. I went back to the witch doctor who fed me some bullshit about it just being my body adjusting/getting rid of all the bad junk it’s harbored over the years. And then one night I had a bowl of warm soup, decided the next day to stop relying on raw foods, and within two days the hives were gone and I could fit into my pants again. HALLELUJAH. Bodies are weird, yo. But also kind of amazing.

    You know what else is amazing? THAT house (the bathroom is making me extra swoony). Cannot wait to see what you two do with the place.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

    This looks delicious! I make a similar drink with turmeric instead of cacao, but I love the idea of star anise and cacao together. Best wishes on your new home!ReplyCancel

  • lysette20/11/2013 - 10:03 am

    Demolition is brute and filthy. I work in construction(and live in British Columbia; -12 this morning whoot!) if I’m doing demo or pretty much anything to do with concrete I fuel with warming foods. I love raw and eat it most of the year (uncompromising vegan all year) but I also need to repair and refuel my muscles (and spirit) for the work day ahead. And I drink a ton of warm liquids!ReplyCancel

  • Valentina20/11/2013 - 10:07 am

    your new place looks awesome! I love when nothing is up and the world is full of endless possibilities !!

    Valentina
    http://valentinaduracinsky.blogspot.com/ReplyCancel

  • Winnie20/11/2013 - 10:15 am

    Love this post! I must admit I was a little worried about your raw experiment. I think raw is fine for, like, a week if you are spending lots of time on a beach in Hawaii. Beyond that I think it can be harmful and the whole “you are just detoxifying” thing is crap. ps the house is looking great!ReplyCancel

  • Daria20/11/2013 - 10:17 am

    Sounds awesome! I’m all about cacao. It’s as simple as “put cacao in it’ and it will turn anything into a delight. I recently finally developed a recipe which works for me (and my man, which was a little unexpected) for hot cacao: 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cups of almond&coconut or just almond milk, 2tbsp (yes!!!) raw cacao powder, 2 tsp maca powder, 1-2 tsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves. Heat everything up in a sauce pan stirring frequently. Oh my, I melt while having it. Great stuff to fix energy levels, mood swings etc.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne20/11/2013 - 10:24 am

    Yessss house photos! It’s a beautiful work in progress. Brava for listening to yourself and adjusting accordingly. No shame in that, ever. I get super annoyed when I’m on a healthy food blog and read a shameful confession about eating a few (organic/local, of course) French fries or some legit ice cream. I think that perpetuating some idea or image of a “perfect” diet does more harm than good. That’s why I don’t keep my love for bacon a secret. Anyway, if I come visit you in Canada someday, will you make me one of these energy drinks before we split a big ol’ plate of poutine?ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey | The Next Course20/11/2013 - 10:30 am

    I can’t wait to try this tomorrow morning! I love the idea of blending ahead of time (and can even see myself blending this up the night before and reheating the next morning). Thanks for your honesty about the raw thing not working for you–bodies are pretty incredible and mysterious, don’t you think?!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah20/11/2013 - 10:34 am

    I am new to your blog, so this was my first post of yours that I have read. I love it. Food is so, so personal. I cannot get over how everything is scrutinized, good or bad. I never have tried a raw detox or whatever. It would be hard here in Wyoming too. By the way, I love your photos, and your house looks awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda20/11/2013 - 10:43 am

    Optimal health is about listening to what our bodies want and need. Sometimes that’s a salad and a smoothie, other times that’s a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Big up on raising your white flag!ReplyCancel

  • T20/11/2013 - 10:46 am

    Honestly, I think it is fully impossible to go raw during a Canadian Winter. Access to all of those lovely fruits and veggies are no longer local. But that is just my experience as well, I need warm food in the winter and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

    For the record, I feel like serious ass when I eat just vegetarian or vegan.

    There is no right answer when it comes to what you eat, but instead what gives you the energy you need to take on the day.

    Good luck with the Renos!

    Maca will make it happen!ReplyCancel

  • LC20/11/2013 - 10:51 am

    You’re such an amazing photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Tucci20/11/2013 - 10:58 am

    Lovely recipes, I love making simple warming hot chocolates like this!ReplyCancel

  • michelle20/11/2013 - 11:20 am

    YES YES YES YES!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney20/11/2013 - 12:21 pm

    I’ve always wanted to buy an older house and renovate it, though I’m not sure why because I don’t have a lick of any type of skills associated with it. I’m loving your in progress photos. As for the raw foods thing, you know your body better than anyone else so to hell with what anyone else says. I can’t imagine doing a raw foods diet in our mild Texas winter so kudos to you for sticking it out as long as you did. As for this lovely maca beverage, it looks awesome though I doubt I’ll be able to drink it without picturing scenes from Arrested Development :)ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Mallon20/11/2013 - 12:22 pm

    Hi. Boy, do I understand. Almost two years ago, Tim and I did a raw week, and I felt so good at the end of it, i wanted to keep going. Let’s just say the second week was NOT like the first one, and things got worse from there. I read the same articles about cleansing and Herx reactions and they didn’t make me feel better, haha. I do think I was cleansing, but I also think you can cleanse too fast and make yourself miserable. Hip hip for trying new things and learning from them! Hip hip for being an honest enough person to talk about it here. I loved reading about it.

    oh and PS I have emotional outbursts all the time.ReplyCancel

  • Grace20/11/2013 - 12:54 pm

    Whew! I was thinking about you the other morning as I was indulging in a warm piece of spiced pumpkin cake (for breakfast!). I started feeling guilty for not having a healthier start to my day – knowing you were probably raw vegging out. Glad we can all get back to real life now. ;) Love the house pictures – please keep sharing them!ReplyCancel

  • Cassandra20/11/2013 - 1:20 pm

    Glad you’re feeling better! You do YOU! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn20/11/2013 - 2:29 pm

    Totally, totally with you. I’m so bored of it all and of the this weird world view where what you choose to eat for one meal of the day – one of the thousands and thousands of meals you’ll eat in your life – becomes some sort of judgement on your worth as a person. Whatever. Welcome back to the land of warm food!

    PS totally digging the pics of your new pad; it has a real English vibe to it which, obviously, appeals to me a lot.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle20/11/2013 - 3:37 pm

    This sounded awful until I got to the energy drink recipe. Kuddos and condolences for attempting such a diet!ReplyCancel

  • Silvia20/11/2013 - 3:40 pm

    Hi Laura, I have been following your blog for a while – love the recipes and the photography is beautiful.
    I tried going fully raw one summer and found it pretty hardcore, I can’t imagine what it’s like doing it in cold weather.. I’m glad you listened to your body!

    Anyway, I wanted to say I relate to what you said and thank you for sharing.
    Cheers!
    SilReplyCancel

  • Harriet McAtee20/11/2013 - 4:25 pm

    Dude – thank you for your unbounded honesty! Judgement is the nastiest thing, and I’m so behind us fighting the best fight against it. We each know our own bodies best. And your new place looks wonderful! Power through – I can see the beauty there already!ReplyCancel

  • Grace20/11/2013 - 4:57 pm

    Love this! I have a somewhat similar perk me up maca drink with cacao and maple sugar. I’m going to try this tomorrow morning. Glad to hear you’re doing what feels right for your body. Raw foods can be especially tough when transitioning to winter. If you get flac for doing right by your body, good riddance!ReplyCancel

  • Emily20/11/2013 - 6:41 pm

    I love this. Good for you for trying out the raw diet, and for listening to your body and stopping. Excited to try this drink!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley20/11/2013 - 6:43 pm

    I can’t even describe how much I love your honesty in this post. And, again, I can completely relate about the house things and I was never on a raw diet. ;) Your house looks adorably and so much character. It will get there!! I promise!! That light fixture is perfection. I want it! So great that you did what was best for your body and mental state and didn’t just stick it out and feel miserable. You are my high vibin’ hero!! <3 <3ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey20/11/2013 - 7:54 pm

    I tried the raw thing a couple years ago. I find that balancing my diet is what keeps me sane (or insane), so it’s totally key for me. Not too much of one thing, but always things that are soothing and yeah, healthy too. Anywho, your home in progress looks awesome, can’t wait to see the end result :)ReplyCancel

  • JT20/11/2013 - 9:06 pm

    Heya! Love your blog/photography. Am curious if there were any raw food recipe books you especially dig? Nice to have those in your back pocket even if you aren’t living a totally raw life style. I know I ain’t.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Murphy20/11/2013 - 9:12 pm

    Hi–I just recently started reading your blog. From a Chinese medicine perspective, raw food is really bad for you. It’s because your body basically has to use all its chi (or something) to cook the food in your stomach before you can digest it. In the winter, especially, this can be really bad because cold is one of the five bad influences that can make you sick. You want to be warm inside, and eat warm food, in order to preserve your chi and stay well.

    Incidentally, winter and cold are a time for kidney meridian stress, and the emotional component of a stressed kidney meridian sounds like exactly what you describe–total anguish over little things. You might want to go get some needles in ya! Or eat things that nourish kidney such as black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, black rice, miso broth, black sesame seeds.

    PS I am not an DOM–I just learned this the hard wayReplyCancel

  • Cristina21/11/2013 - 9:30 am

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to food rules and food boundaries–what a complex mess that is. Food can be medicine, or it can make us feel so crummy. It’s a windy journey, figuring out the philosophies worth listening to, versus those that are simply snakeoil, and then ultimately what works for each individual. But I think you have it right–listen to your body, and then let the chips fall where they may.

    Also, your house is impossibly darling. I’m sure it’s been so much work, but I am a small bit obsessed with that handsome fireplace, the details carved into windows, the robin’s egg blue porch, the built in shelves, and most especially, that back deck where I can imagine a big table, a grill, friends, and a tangle of fairy lights. It’s going to be a great house.ReplyCancel

  • I like the new place! And thank you for this recipe, I need an energy drink.ReplyCancel

  • charlotte21/11/2013 - 5:39 pm

    thank you so much for your wonderful honesty.ReplyCancel

  • Riley Tea22/11/2013 - 12:00 am

    When some people come to me and say “oh, so you’re one of those health freaks that doesn’t cook anything or only eats tofu and nuts.” I’m like “first of all, you’re mixing three different diets in one. Second, why “health freak”? Vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy. Neither does paleo or raw. Or any of those diets. They can be interesting to try, but ultimately, I believe in eating what feels right for you. I try to implement as much real/whole foods as possible and I feel good about what I eat. That’s what’s important. I don’t care about anything others have to say. (I once had a hindu scold me for eating organic free-range roast chicken.) I’m glad you were able to listen to yourself and stop from doing something that just isn’t for you. That doesn’t make it wrong, but you know your body (and I hear ya, for the Canadian winters. Damn, no hot cocoa?!)

    Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • Ines23/11/2013 - 3:49 pm

    I made your drink last night and I really liked it! As I usually have cocoa in some variation or other every night – I get very sad if I don’t get the chance to have one ;-) – , this is a lovely new variation. Your ideas for the spices are very good!
    Thanks for writing explicitly to not blend the star anise ;-) I did that once and the result was horrible.
    That time I wanted to make a cocoa that tastes like the “winter chocolate” you can buy here in Germany and which contains small pieces of spekulatius.
    I never succeeded in making something like this, though. So if you have an idea I’d love to read about it =)ReplyCancel

  • sarah23/11/2013 - 10:58 pm

    Laura, thanks for such good words here. You always give me so much food for thought. After reading this post and all the comments, I spent some time today reading about the yin and yang of food (and life) and figured some good things out for myself.

    I always feel so encouraged here, and welcome. You’ve made such a great space.

    And, your house. Awesome. I love the wallpaper. Sending love and peace to you. xoReplyCancel

  • […] and rose petals. Self-love indeed! You will find the recipe for this reviving hot drink on The First Mess. I substituted with local honey and added some […]ReplyCancel

  • Weekend Reading, 11.23.1324/11/2013 - 10:11 am

    […] gorgeously photographed good energy drink sounds like a perfect pick-me-up! (When I’m not clutching my coffee, that is […]ReplyCancel

  • Hannah24/11/2013 - 5:42 pm

    Keep your chin up; the truth your body tells you will always be better than any theory, yours or someone else’s. (And anyway, a warm drink on a cold day nurtures us, or most of us.) Also: love the house. Reminds me some of the craftsman I grew up in. Great light, great details, great potential. You will be happy there, my guess is you already are – in progress or no. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Cel24/11/2013 - 7:15 pm

    No judgement here! But I’m raw and living in Canada and loooove the results. The bloating in the increase in fiber and water and raw food clean out the junk baked on inside. I now have glowing skin! Read 801010 by dr Doug graham. Eye-opening. I would just love to see people give it a fair chance and then pass judgementReplyCancel

  • Sini │my blue&white kitchen26/11/2013 - 11:31 am

    This was such a great and honest post with adorable photography! I think the take-home message from this post is “listen to your body”. Always.ReplyCancel

  • tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:31 pm

    have so had the dexter moments, lath (lath, and more lath) moments, and hidden wallpaper discoveries, and piles outside ready to go somewhere… heres to “in progress”!!ReplyCancel

  • Spinning Plates giveaway28/11/2013 - 2:32 am

    […] Good Energy Drink from The First Mess. I love maca! […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel29/11/2013 - 4:35 pm

    Beautiful! How do you get that grainy film-like effect in your photos?ReplyCancel

  • Emilie21/01/2014 - 7:09 pm

    Hi! I just wanted to say I think your blog is beautiful and very inspiring! I want to try making everything on here. All. Of. It.ReplyCancel

  • […] The First Mess My Good Energy Drink […]ReplyCancel

  • Renee17/05/2015 - 3:24 pm

    I’m loving this drink, thanks for the post. Such a delicious drink to have as its starting to get cold. I love using maca in my drinks :)ReplyCancel

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  • […] from Laura, this is my good-energy drink of choice lately. There’s a lot of talk that maca, a root […]ReplyCancel