We’re going to New York this weekend! Just a tiny sliver of a thought about that makes my insides glow. The first trip Mark and I ever took as an item was to that fine city in late September. We were visiting a new friend along with our bestest friend, seeing the last Pavement show (probably) ever, staying at a guy’s apartment in Bushwick that had jeans in the freezer and an Opening Ceremony replica of Max’s wolf suit from Where The Wild Things Are hanging in the bedroom. I got to eat every and any high-vibe food I could have ever dreamed of. We visited the Museum of Natural History, leaned back and said “WHOOOOOAA!!!” every time we entered a room with a different prehistoric skeleton. In the LES Whole Foods, I convinced him that I knew my shit to the utmost when it comes to building a salad (“It’s like a vegetable sundae!!”)(#shithippiessay). Surrounded by awesome at all hours, plenty of cheap wine enjoyed on rooftops and the handsomest dude as my co-adventurer. Those are big rays of warm, neon light that shine through my memory.
We’ve visited a few times since. I always come back crazy-inspired in ways that I didn’t even know were lurking below my standard level of awareness. Although our relationship has progressed and changed in ways that are obvious after 3 years, I know we’ll be closer and in tune to each other’s quirks a little bit more come Monday. That stuff excites me. A cookie sandwich at Babycakes is pretty rad, but understanding my main squeeze just a tiny bit more, through a sneaky travel osmosis energy exchange, is about a million times more thrilling.
And here’s something he grew to understand about me right quick, no mysterious knowledge transfer through the cosmos needed: I fall into bouts of hangry-ness with frightening ease–especially on the road. If I can’t get a wholesome snack when I need it, I’m kind of a jerk. Mark is simultaneously patient and eager to point out that I’m being a HUGE baby. It’s just the approach needed to help me move towards the endgame. That guy. He gets me.
So for all of you hangry peeps (I salute you), I made a healthy snack today. I love a good granola bar in terms of concept. They frequently disappoint in execution. Lots of sugar, soy protein isolate, weird things, hard-ass dried fruit, chocolate that doesn’t taste like chocolate if you close your eyes. I had to tackle this project myself. Banana bread is this undeniably cozy, early-fall thing to me and I managed to fix some up on the weekend. I thought about using that flavour base for a granola bar, relying on the bananas for some sweetness and binding power. It totally worked! These are super easy to fix up, I promise. I just used whatever nuts and seeds I had around with some pinches of cinnamon and sea salt. The chocolate drizzling is very key. Also, I incorporated caramel-y brown rice syrup for extra stick-together powers, because you know what good granolas do? They stick together :)
Big hugs to all of you this week. xoxo
vegan + GF banana bread granola bars recipe
serves: makes 16 bars
notes: In retrospect, my bananas could have been riper–just sayin’. Also, I blend the bananas up with all of the other liquid components for MAXIMUM integration. Totally an optional step. You could just mash them up real nice and whisk the other wet ingredients in for simplicity. I find whole nuts make for harder-to-cut finished bars–chop ’em small-ish. Lastly, I’ll add that this is more of a soft/chewy granola bar as opposed to a crispy/crunchy vibe. Maybe try toasting your oats in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or so before stirring them into the bar mixture to help with crunchiness.
3 way-way ripe, regulation-sized bananas, peeled
3 tbsp almond butter (any nut or seed butter you love will do)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (optional!)
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + extra for greasing the pan
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 cups rolled oats (make sure they’re certified GF if need be)
1 1/4 cup chopped nuts + seeds (I used toasted hazelnuts, raw walnuts + black sesame seeds)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped dried fruit/dairy-free chocolate chips/cacao nibs (I went with chippers + cacao nibs)
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
splash of almond milk
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×11″ or an 8×12″ pan with coconut oil. Lay a piece of parchment into the pan (with overhang on the sides) and grease that with more coconut oil. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the bananas, almond butter, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse or blend until a homogenous and creamy mixture is achieved. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chips etc. Stir to mix. Add the creamy banana mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Scrape the granola bar mix into the prepared pan. Smooth the mix out, pressing down with a flat surface (measuring cup, spatula) until the mix has evenly filled the pan. Bake the bars for 40 minutes or until golden on the edges/top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly on a rack.
Once completely cool, lift the bars out of the pan with the overhanging parchment onto a cutting board. If you still feel residual heat emitting from the bars, allow them to cool down on the rack some more. Once ready, cut the slab right down the middle lengthwise. From here, cut the two halves into 8 bars each.
In a double boiler/non-reactive pan set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine the chocolate drizzle ingredients. Stir constantly with a spatula until chocolate is melted and a sauce forms. Drizzle over the cut granola bars. Refrigerate bars until chocolate is solidified, about 30 minutes. Keep the bars in a sealed container for about a week.
Superfoods! These things are being pimped out everywhere I go lately. I’ve been frequenting a certain home furnishings discount chain, just to see what I can pick up for our new place and you know something? They have a superfoods section in their little food aisle with the fancy oils, vinegars, salts and preserves. On any given trip there’s mulberries, sprouted quinoa, goji berries, chia + hemp seeds and on and on. A local grocery store has a shelf above the low-boy refrigeration display with bee pollen, spirulina, extra virgin coconut oil, flax powder, sea buckthorn juice, and E3 Live; all right next to the jello puddings and cream cheese. Even our Costco store has a big selection of organic, very nutrient dense pantry and fresh foods now. Kind of amazing when you stop to think about it.
We went on a short little getaway to the Finger Lakes-ish area of New York State this past weekend. It was beautiful in plenty of outright ways: the density of trees, the quaintness of the restoration, the views from up high, the sunshine that wasn’t too balmy and all of that. There were some unexpected bits of wonder too. We traipsed all through a deserted downtown core with beautiful old buildings on a Sunday night. We walked and walked, meandered through a kind of sketchy bit with a quick pace, saw this huge waterfall, the river, a grassy valley where there had been dwellers, a cozy bar in total darkness lit up by orbs of deep red. The air was heavy with a certain kind of energy that I can hardly describe.
There are so many new things coming up for us and all of the usual big ideas. Dining room configurations, a minimalist bedroom that still feels cozy, how we’ll make a dishwasher part of our new kitchen, all of the things we’ll have to give up, all of the things we stand to gain, everything that will become possible in that new light and space. I’m on pins and needles for it, but when my friend asked me how moving preparations were going, my answer followed a “They aren’t.” kinda vibe. I’m thrilled and bursting with pointed intentions, but the crazy can wait. This is a warm, glow-y pocket of time that I want to savour a bit.
So there’s been some purchase-less trips to Ikea (not counting the cinnamon bun that I wolfed down and got all over my face while we examined cabinet options in the showroom–Mark just looked at me and laughed), some antique store hops (fuelling my enamelware love) and a visit to my new favourite place: a clearance/auction house out in the sticks. We got the comfy/rustic chair of our dreams there last week (currently wrapped in a mattress bag in Mark’s garage wooo-ey). Soon it’ll be coming together in ways we would never expect.
In the meantime, there’s the everyday surprises. Before we started on the drive back home on Monday, we hit a local grocery store that had this whole juice bar thing set up. Amazing! And there was a tea counter where I got a delicious matcha latte made with coconut milk. So surprising and wonderful. I overheard an employee talking to a customer about the virtues of chia seeds. There were umpteen-million types of kale and apples available for purchase. I was flitting around without direction, just so excited by the availability of honest and good food! The approach and overall environment was so inspiring. I had this vague concept of an everyday superfood kind of salad formulating. Just a bunch of very nutritious, but still very accessible, foods together with some extra flavour and texture elements thrown in. Massaged kale and broccoli makes up the base with a bunch of other vibrant vegetables that we’ve been digging up. There’s a coriander-spiced + omega-pumped seedy mix on top, blueberry ginger vinaigrette, tons of lime, puffed quinoa, avocado and Himalayan salt.
So yeah, lots of things on the unfold. I’ll be here waiting and planning, belly full of salad duh :)
the everyday superfood salad recipe
notes: I throw some ground coriander in with the seeds, but any spice you’re into would be great. This salad can definitely hang for a few hours if you keep the blueberry dressing off until you’re ready to serve. And a note on the blueberry dressing: the flavour isn’t like a liquified pie filling with ginger. There’s a fresh and tart quality to it. If you want more a more pronounced blueberry-ness, I would suggest cooking the berries down in a saucepan with the maple syrup for a bit before you blend up the dressing.
1 bunch of kale, leaves chopped kinda small
1 broccoli branch/segment, florets finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper (I used Himalayan pink salt–any old salt is fine)
1 small beet (red or golden or striped), thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled + sliced
1-2 sprigs of basil, chopped
handful of blueberries
blueberry ginger dressing ingredients:
heaped 1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + chopped
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
big splash of water
salt + pepper
1/4 cup oil (grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil)
omega seed sprinkle ingredients:
handful sunflower seeds
handful pumpkin seeds
1-2 tbsp flax seeds
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
handful of puffed quinoa (or puffed millet, brown rice etc)
pinch of ground coriander
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, massage the kale and chopped broccoli with the lime juice, salt and pepper. Keep massaging until the leaves seem a bit more tender. Taste a leaf for seasoning, adjust and set aside. Chop and prep all of the other salad ingredients and set aside.
Make the dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until you have a creamy and unified mixture. Check for seasoning and sweetness, adjust and set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, combine all of the omega seed sprinkle ingredients over medium heat. Stir them around here and there until they smell toasty and the coriander is a bit more prominent. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Arrange the massaged kale and broccoli on your serving plate. Top the greens with the beets, carrots, avocado, chopped basil, and blueberries. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper again. Stir up the dressing (it should have thickened a bit) and drizzle it all over the top and garnish the salad with the omega seed sprinkle. Serve it up!
Hey lovely peeps. I took a little break last week but! I’m back with waffles and ice cream sooo, forgive me? Sweet, sweet Melissa from The Fauxmartha is bringing a tiny human into the world, so ooooobviously that calls for a waffle-shower in blog land. Erin got this whole party started and I couldn’t be more thrilled. More love on the internets please! In whatever form we can dream up, seriously. Big changes swirling in the cosmos (September makes that whole thing feel so intense) and right here on earth call for a very high vibrational frequency waffle treat. Would love to have Melissa over for one of these sammies with a cup of tea, maybe on my new porch (!!!!), maybe while we watch a couple Kid President videos and talk about the insanity of bitchin’ sauce, maybe we’d share a few cooking/baking tips (I know she’s got a couple)… It would be THE BEST.
I’ll have to settle for sending out this recipe to all of youse instead for now (oh and revelling in the party posts from Erin, Sarah, Alex & Sonja, Jeanine, Kathryne, Kasey, Nicole, Heidi and Alison too). I worked from her pretty much famous wholewheat waffle recipe, with ice cream sandwiches on my mind all the while. If I find myself at the Canadian National Exhibition during summer’s calendar end, I most definitely indulge in one of these treats. They make the waffle to order right there, break it on the perforation and sandwich it around a slice of ice cream. Hot waffle with cold ice cream at the fair? Yeah it’s pretty great. The memory of that sweet treat was floating in and out of my consciousness these past couple weeks. This waffle-shower of sorts? So, so timely. Thanks universe!
I used a new-to-me gluten free flour mix for these and made a few other adjustments to suit my needs–chia seeds to bind (PRO TIP: 1/2 tbsp chia seeds all ground up + 1/4 cup water = vegan egg replacement extraordinaire sans flax funk), some almond milk, and coconut palm sugar for sweetenin’. The little kiss of orange and vanilla in these is just right. They seemed like the perfect base for some smushy tart berry sauce and (coconut-based!) vanilla ice cream. Yum and yum. Hope you’re all settling in with the blessings and rhythms of late summer/early fall. We’ve been cozying up to tea mugs in sweaters, accepting the wildness of the veggie/raspberry patch, marathoning Burning Love, and combing the ads for energy efficient appliance deals (whoop whoop + hot damn, party train never stops). Sending the big hugs this week, but especially to you, Melissa! xoxo
GF + vegan vanilla bean waffle ice cream sammies w/ maple berry mash
recipe adapted from: The Fauxmartha!
serves: makes 4 sandwiches (or 5-7 regular sized waffles for breakfast party times)
notes: For a killer non-dairy ice cream, try Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. Also, everyone’s waffle iron is different for timing and such. Here’s the one I use (link)–It’s basic and I love it.
1/2 tbsp chia seeds, ground + 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or some evaporated cane is cool)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil + extra for the waffle iron
1 1/2 cups warm almond milk (or other milk)
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract!)
little handful cacao nibs (optional)
maple berry mash + serving:
1/2 pint raspberries or blackberries (or a mix)
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
vegan (or not, whatevs) vanilla ice cream
Preheat your waffle iron. I have this one, and I set it to 5, which is on the higher end of the spectrum.
In a small bowl, combine the ground chia seeds and 1/4 cup of water. Whisk the mixture and allow it to gel while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the GF all purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt, and coconut sugar. Stir to mix evenly.
To the dry ingredients, add the melted coconut oil, warm almond milk, orange juice, vanilla bean paste and chia gel. Mix until you have a smooth batter. Awesome news: you can’t over-mix/overdevelop the gluten in a GF waffle batter :) Fold in the cacao nibs, if using.
Lightly grease the waffle iron with a bit of coconut oil. Drop a 1/4 cup of the batter into the machine. Shut the iron and cook the waffle until golden. Place the cooked waffle on a baking sheet/plate and ocver if you wish. If you’re serving these as breakfast waffles, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 200 (F) oven while you prepare the remaining ones. Repeat with remaining batter.
While the waffles are cooking, place the berries, maple syrup and vanilla in a pie dish and lightly mash everything together with a fork until you have a textured/saucy consistency. Set aside.
Assemble the sandwiches!: Place a scoop of ice cream onto a waffle, flatten the ice cream out a bit. Spread a bit it berry mash on top of the ice cream and sandwich it all with another waffle. Serve immediately.
“Does this rye have wheat in it?” my coworker asked me last Saturday night. One of her tables had asked for a rye-based drink, but the woman had a wheat intolerance.
“Well, rye IS wheat technically, so yes. Maybe ask her if she drinks a certain type? I don’t know…” I replied.
A few minutes later I saw her pouring the whiskey of choice for the table. Full on rye. Wheat in the glass. That woman, with her laundry list of food sensitivities, was full of shit. “She’s an idiot” I said and we had a laugh.
So yeah. In one move I completely wrote this stranger off as a human being over a libation choice essentially. I feel like working in hospitality tends to encourage that kind of dismissiveness in even the most genuinely wonderful people. You see and feel the wrath of it all. I’m working on avoiding the motions that always lead to scorn and the whole empathy thing, I swear. It just takes time and and some intention in terms of arming yourself with better stress-coping mechanisms–sipping the good tea, staring at the trees, laughing, carving out time alone to lose yourself in books and other pursuits. It’s all been good.
***EDIT!: It’s been kindly brought to my attention that the distillation process of whiskey-making may very well remove the glutenous/wheat-y properties of the grain that cause digestion/overall living troubles for many. I really, really, big-time send apologies for the ignorance and like I said, totally working on trying to understand/not being so fast to judge thing. Hope we can still be friends :)***
One of the books I’ve been spending time with in a cozy chair just leisurely flipping through is Makini Howell’s Plum. It’s a most fitting inspiration right now as we slowly transition into fall. Lots of hearty recipes and simple strategies to make good and honest food even better, right out of her restaurants. I generally aim to choose plant-based and organic foods whenever possible, but I also tend to eat A LOT of that high vibe stuff. I have a fairly active job and have been amping up the workout routine lately (feeling amazing, thanks), so when I’m fixing something up for myself, I’m usually bordering on ravenous. Flipping through this book reassures me that people understand the whole veggie-focused-but-hungry-like-a-wolf thing. There are unusual flavour combinations and full, FULL plates of goodness for all levels of cooks. I’ve already bookmarked the apple tempeh fillets w/ fennel and garlic, the barbecued oyster mushroom sliders w/ pickled onions, the chai-spiced yam bruschetta w/ crunchy kale, and the tiramisu pancakes. I would say that the soon-here fall season is shaping up rather beautifully.
And this soup! I tend to not eat corn very often or shy away from items that feature it because we’re completely spoiled by the best corn EVER in the summertime. My dad plants rows in stages so that we can lengthen its season. Not exaggerating. Truly the best. I had a culinary instructor who explained seasonal cooking like this one time: “If I wanted to make you some corn, like the best possible corn, I would bring a portable stove out to a corn field and we would pick, shuck, and boil it right there. That’s how delicate the situation is.” I was fist bumping that sentiment with my mind before he even formed the entire thought. SO crucial to get it fresh while it’s on. The sugars fade to starch and just like that–chewy, dry corn experience. Frozen kernels would be just as tasty in this soup if corn isn’t so fresh where you live.
I was rather pleased with the outcome of this though. The addition of millet fills the bowl out and the ratio of greens was spot on. So satisfying and perfect in these late summer evenings. It was nice to hover over the pot while it simmered, quieting all of the busy thoughts. Summer’s typical cooking/non-cooking techniques seem to lack those clarifying moments, so a return is rather welcome. Maybe a few more sliced tomato lunches first though :)
creamy millet corn chowder with greens
C 2013 By Makini Howell. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro by permission of Sasquatch Books.
notes: I only made a couple minor changes to this recipe. Howell specifies baby spinach for the greens component, but I didn’t have any. So I clipped a bunch of baby leaves from our chard, kale and beet plants outside and threw them in at the end. I added a bit of smoked paprika and decided to blend a portion of the soup for extra creaminess. After I cut the kernels off, I slipped the cobs in with the millet cooking water for extra corn flavour vibes. Lastly, we have mammoth chives in the garden currently, so I swapped them in for the specified green onions. I’m also going to add that you shouldn’t be afraid to use some salt in this recipe. The millet and potatoes tend to soak up a lot of it and I mean, corn seriously loves the stuff–it amplifies the flavour quite a bit.
3/4 cup millet, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small hot pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 baby potatoes, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (reserve the cobs if you’re using fresh)
10-12 blades of chives, chopped (or a bunch of green onions)
2 cups small greens (baby spinach, small kale + chard leaves etc)
salt + pepper
extra chives, paprika, extra virgin olive oil and fresh pepper for garnish/serving
In a medium stockpot, bring 7 cups of water to a boil along with the stripped corn cobs. Add the millet and a pinch of salt. Cook until the millet is barely tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the corn cobs with tongs and drain the millet, reserving the liquid.
Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil in it over medium. Add the garlic, hot pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Sauté the mix until the garlic starts to appear golden in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the diced potatoes and 6 cups of the millet/corn stock to the pot. bring the soup to a boil.
Add the cooked millet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so. At this point you can purée 5-6 ladlefuls of soup in the blender and add the creamy mix back into the pot if you want a creamier consistency. Your call! Then add the corn, chives and greens to the pot, give it a stir and allow the greens to wilt just a tiny bit. Serve the soup hot with extra chives, sprinkles of paprika/pepper and drizzles of olive oil if you like.
I know, more panzanella. And another dish with a trillion vowels and syllables. I had the idea for this in my mind last week and could not let it go, couldn’t let it wait until next summer. Caponata is this irresistibly rustic Sicilian eggplant and tomato stew/condiment that comes together with some minor rough chopping and simmering. It brings out the meatiness of the eggplant to the point of serious questioning sometimes. There are wonderful salty bits, cooked out summer-tomato juices, a scatter of parsley leaves that have barely been grazed by the knife. Sweet, sour, salty–perfect on any and all toasts once it’s cooled, maybe with some charcuterie and cheeses if that’s your thing. I thought I could cut to the chase and just throw the toast component right in there, mix it up real simple with another dose of olive oil, bursts of fresh tomato and even more grassy, peppery parsley. That thought was correct. So correct.
There is a pre-fall cool blowing through town, so I didn’t mind flipping the oven on to make the croutons while I sipped some tea and hung out by the stove. I donned a sweatshirt on my morning run today and marvelled at the pace of the clouds drifting on by while the whoooosh in my ears never ended. I have plans for soups, cookies and hella roasted summer squash next week. The pup shivers a little bit when we try to enjoy a little coffee/tea break outside and requires snuggling (OBV). My jorts preferences have faded to actual jeans-wearing. Maybe this isn’t so much the same where you live (especially on those jorts). Tuck the thought of this hearty salad into your back pocket for September if that’s the case. So simple, wonderful and lightly warming. Doubling the caponata for other uses/eating straight from the pan still-warm is a fine idea too.
So with that, I’m just going to keep it short today. This is my favourite time of year, this micro/in-between season of bright, cool and dry days. Maybe a little summery thunderstorm here and there. It tends to make me a touch sentimental while giving a clear focus for what’s ahead at the same time. Renewed purpose, eyes up to the moon, creativity and inspiration is everywhere you could find it. It’s a generous time in my corner of the world. Hope you’re all wrapping yourselves up in it too :) xo
caponata panzanella salad recipe
notes: It’s pretty crucial to cook the eggplant until it’s way tender, like a solid 15 minute simmer. Also, there’s a lot of salty bits in the caponata so maybe taste the finished product before you season the whole thing.
big glug of olive oil
1 large eggplant, chopped into big pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 small red onion, small dice
1 clove of garlic, rough chopped
big splash of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp capers
handful of green olives, pitted + rough chopped
2-ish cups diced fresh tomatoes
salt and pepper
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
4 cups torn up bread pieces
salt + pepper
handful of small tomatoes, halved
more chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the pieces of eggplant and oregano. Stir the pieces around to coat them in the oil and herb. Stir the pot here and there until the eggplant is browned on all sides. Add the red onions and garlic to the pot. Stir it up a bit, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary to avoid sticking. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the red wine vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir the mix until the vinegar has evaporated. Add the capers, olives and tomatoes to the pot and stir. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the eggplant is tender and the tomatoes have let out a bit of juice. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, season to taste, and set aside to cool.
Place the bread pieces on the parchment lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Slide the tray into the oven and bake until golden brown on all sides, about 12-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Set aside to cool.
Combine the caponata with the croutons, stirring gently until just combined. Garnish the salad with a healthy drizzle of more olive oil, the halved tomatoes and extra parsley. I also like to scatter the crouton crumb-y bits left on the pan over the top of the salad for more crunch.