Because sardines and brownies totally go together?! Uh. No. Just go with it.

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Food prep Sunday has returned in all it’s fridge-filling glory. And actually this week I literally went from empty empty fridge to stuffed fridge. Which is exactly how a Sunday night fridge should look, because Mondays are bad enough as it is without being irked by a lack of edible things.

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I do kind of love having an emptyish fridge — it forces me to get creative and use what I have. And it is definitely not a bad thing to cook down your fridge / freezer / pantry periodically. I had some epic meals at the end of last week, all full of new veggie combinations, as I was working with what I had. There was a deplorable lack of produce after Friday night though, so today I had a glorious Sunday of yoga, grocery shopping, and several hours of food prep. Ahhh. And then dinner and movie and dessert with the purring snugglepuss. Me-time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Also, yesterday was date day in Santa Cruz with E! AND OMG I DISCOVERED CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

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I mean, I’d had a bacon chocolate bar and have made bacon brownies… but a piece of bacon!!!! Covered in chocolate!!!! Amazing. And simple to make for myself… but let’s not. I would eat.it.all. But anyway, chocolate covered bacon. I highly recommend it.

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Back to what I was sort of talking about in a rambly fashion — food prep Sunday! Today I did a crockpot red lentil dal with ginger and curry, which will probably last me a week (I made a literal VAT), roasted radishes for later in the week, made a new batch of nut butter and cashew meal, baked a batch of vegan spelt brownies with a tahini-maple swirl (omg.save me from myself and the whole pan), and a sardine ragu over zucchini noodles and greens. Which, depending on your point of view, could be the best thing ever or the most disgusting. Obviously, I fall into the former camp, but hey. We can’t all be the same, or this would be one boring universe.

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But even if sardines straight out the can with a little mustard (and avo) isn’t your thing (ahem. not like I do that or anything), I’m advocating for you to give this ragu a shot.

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The sardines are simmered in red wine and tomato sauce, which tames their sardine-yness. I do love them, but I’ll admit they can be a little much sometimes (I really have to be in the mood for them). But in the sauce, they’re much milder. I served the sauce over some sautéed mushrooms and zucchini noodles with greens, and shredded a little goat cheddar over the top (Redwood Hill Farms is my favorite!! Their cheese is spectacular). Highly recommended, and in my lunch for work tomorrow (because this just gets better and better as the flavors do the leftover tango). This is reason number five billion why food prep days are so spectac: Lunches for at least the first half of the week, so I can be not hangry and cranky for the start of the week.

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Enough babble. It’s Sunday night and time for bed so I can be something less than a zombie come five am tomorrow. And this post is enough of a novel already, so on that note… recipeeeez!

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Vegan Spelt Brownies with Tahini Swirl

These brownies are much cakier than my usual brownies, so if cakey brownies are your jam, you’re in the right spot. I usually like mine fudgier, but these are great for a change. The maple tahini swirl is freaking fantastic as well, so if you like halva or just sesame in general, these are right up your alley. Vegan, refined sugar free, and delicious. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan, anywhere from 6 to 12 brownies, depending on what kind of day you’ve just had. Adapted from Love Me, Feed Me, here!

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  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • a very full 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease (or use parchment) an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, applesauce, maple, and avo oil. Stir to roughly combine. Add in hemp milk and chocolate chips, and mix until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together tahini and maple syrup. Practice your drizzle skills and make it look pretty as your pour it over the top of the batter… take a knife (or the spoon you’re currently using, if you’re lazy like me) and swirl it into the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely, and store covered in the fridge.

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And now for something completely different….

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Sardine Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savory, perfectly textured, and full of healthy fats and lycopene. All good things! Gluten free, low lactose (with goat cheese), and high in antioxidants. If you can, try to eat this on subsequent days — I find that the flavor just gets better and better. Yield: 3-4 servings. Ish. Recipe inspired by Spoonshine blog, here!

  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, frozen or smooshed
  • 3 rainbow carrots, diced
  • 2 cans of sardines, packed in oil (I like Wild Planet brand)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese of choice, optional
  • spiralized zucchini + sautéed mushrooms and greens for serving, or your fave pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add in onions, and garlic with a few twists of sea salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add in diced carrots, sardines (Including their oil), tomato sauce and paste, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and add the freshly boiled water.

Keeping the sauce at a high simmer, let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. It should be reduced and thicker, like the consistency of a meat ragu. Once the sauce has reduced, taste and season accordingly — add the tbsp of balsamic, plus more oregano or thyme, or salt and pepper (or all four).

Serve over zucchini noodles or your noodle of choice, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or goat cheese over the top.

Here’s a little ommm to take into your Monday:

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:)

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