Midsummer Pepita Pesto Shenanigans

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Ugh, here we go again with large hiatuses (hiati-i?!) in between posts. I miss you, invisible internet friends! I do hope things are going swimmingly and that your summer is fab. Defs no complaints on this end, other than a lack of time to blog. Obvs.

But let’s rectify that!

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Because I have this AMAZINGGGG summer dish to share today! Last night was date night so I made dinner {and chocolate covered strawberries mmmmm} and then E and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon: 2 [there are no words. I sat there with a silly smile on my face for the entire movie, except when I was frowning in consternation at the screen, willing bad things not to happen. SO. GOOD.] aaannnd then it was late and dinner was forever ago and guess what?! I wanted ice cream. Shocking, I know…

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So then because I’m really like five years old, this happened. Sprinkles make everything taste that much better.

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But anyway. Back to the real food shenanigans because I’m pretty sure that’s why y’all are here, not to listen to my probably semi-obnoxious rambles about inner fiver year olds. I mean… if you are, though, I could go on… ha. Let’s not.

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This is the beyond perfect dish for when it’s stupid hot out and you are really dying for pasta for some reason. I don’t know, it could happen! But this recipe involves only one stove burner for only about a minute, so it’s a [nearly] heat free solution. And it’s FULL of fruit and veg so obviously is my favorite thing ever. AND you can put cheese on it. So um… obvi. Clearly this is a perfect dish.

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Top it off with some chocolate covered strawberries [extra dark chocolate+coconut oil melted…having dipping fun…let sit in the fridge for a bit] and you can just consider yourself in gastro heaven. Extra points for the addition of ice cream and a boyfriend who really like ice cream too and will therefore indulge you when you NEED IT NOW.

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Pepita Pesto with Zucchini Noodles and Peaches

Vegan [w/o cheese garnish], gluten free. Serves 2 comfortably, with pesto leftover. Light, perfect for summer and peach season (this is obviously best with fresh ones). Recipe lightly adapted from the Vibrant Table cookbook via Food Loves Writing, here! This was such a near-perfect recipe I felt little urge to change it up. Delicious, fast, and summery.

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  • 1 c raw, unsalted pepitas
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 scant tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 3 large zucchini (I used 1 large, 2 small for E and I)
  • 1 large organic peach, diced
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • grated parmesan

In a saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, toss in pepitas and sea salt and sauté until they start to smell a little toasty, 3-4 minutes (I don’t time them, I just go by smell; if they start popping, take them off the heat!). Pour them onto a plate and let them cool slightly.

Blend the pepitas in a food processor until they reach a consistency like almond meal, or like very small breadcrumbs. Blend in olive oil, basil, water, lemon juice, and garlic until combined. I like mine thicker and on the chunky side, but if you’d like yours to be thinner, blend in more olive oil or water. This will make more pesto than you need for two people—refrigerate the leftovers in a lidded glass jar in the fridge.

Using a spiralizer, turn the zucchini into noodles! (My favorite part, we’ve already established that I’m pretty much a five year old). If you don’t own a spiralizer (which I recommend getting, I LOVE mine), you can use a veggie peeler to shave off zucchini noodles instead. I steam my zucchini noodles for a few minutes until softened but still with a bite to them.

Toss hot noodles with several healthy spoonfuls of pesto, and stir in the diced peaches. I added salt and pepper to taste at this point as well. Serve with grated parmesan and fresh basil for garnish!

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Things that are shockingly savory and also green

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Shut the front door.

I spy something savory!!

What. Shocking.

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Good thing I balanced it out with those awesome fudgy brownie cookies I mentioned in the last post. But actually, this is delicious. AND savory. You must feel like a proud parent. Additionally, this flatbread is stupid easy. As in like, whizzbangboomLUNCH. Which is awesome because as we know I don’t really like waiting for my food. Which is why I am mostly too lazy to make yeasted breads even though they’re delicious and not entirely difficult. I’m just impatient. Sigh. Story of my life.

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Anyway. Want to know what happens nearly every time I photograph something?

Actually, maybe you don’t.

But… too bad. I’m sharing anyway [my blog, ha]… Ready?

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I drop my camera in my food.

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For reals. Like a child. A clumsy one, at that. I swear, that camera has three years worth of blog food residue on it (EW GROSS I promise that isn’t true. I totally clean it off after I drop it. Like an adult. Ish.). But in the last few weeks it’s come into closer contact than I suppose it wishes with some really awesome guac, some flan (twice on the same photo shoot you ask?! Um yes. Welcome to my life), and most recently some cookies. No, I did NOT drop in in the flatbread. Ha. At least I am sort of winning at my own game… or not.

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So anyway. Make some of this deliciousness. I’m pretty sure no one is entirely positive where this originated… some say Egypt, the French say France, and no doubt the Italians say Italy. I don’t much care, as long as I can eat it. Mine is a little thicker than the variety you can find in France, which is more like a crepe, but I like it heartier because then I can get creative with what goes on it. I’ve made it once before, Italian-style (here, disregard mildly awful photography), but this one is my new favorite.

Besides that, I made an awesome green sauce to go with it. It’s like pesto, but lighter. And greener. Because, obviously.

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Mushroom and Rosemary Socca

Recipe inspired by Food 52, here! Serves 3, roughly, for an appetizer or a light lunch. Gluten free and vegan.

  • 1 c chickpea flour
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra [divided]
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ~1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • a good handful of white button mushrooms
  • 1 chunk of frozen basil, or a few good sized leaves, chiffonaded
  • a splash of good balsamic vinegar
  • a glug of avocado oil (or other high heat oil)

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, water, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. Set aside for about 30 minutes, more or less is not a big deal.

Heat a bit of olive oil and basil in a sauté pan over medium. When oil is hot, sauté mushrooms until they begin to release their juices and turn that great shade of golden/brown/sautéed mushroom color. Splash in a bit of balsamic, and cook for a minute more. Remove pan from heat, and pour slightly cooled mushrooms into the batter.

Preheat the oven to 450, and muscle out your cast iron skillet [mine is about 11″, so my socca is fairly thin]. Stick the skillet into the preheating oven for a bit so it gets hot enough that you need an oven mitt to take it out. Pour that glug of avo oil into the preheated skillet and swirl it around so it evenly coats the bottom. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and place it back into the oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the top is just firm. Remove and let rest for a few minutes before cutting and serving. I took all of mine out of the skillet and let it cool on racks for a bit, as I didn’t want it to overcook. Keeps fairly well in the fridge for at least a day, but is best served right after it’s made.

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Startlingly Green Sauce

I apologize in advance for the vagueness of this recipe. It’s really up to your taste, so use what sounds good and tastes appealing to you! I use whatever I have on hand, but typically the base ingredients are the same. Incidentally, this makes an excellent pasta sauce… Gluten free, vegan. Makes about 1 cup.

  • two good handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt+pepper to taste
  • ~1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • ~1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for a few minutes for easier blending
  • 2 tsp frozen basil, or a good handful of fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or diced fresh
  • perhaps a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos, if you’re feeling it

Chuck the load into your food processor, and blend the crap out of it! Taste. Like what you taste? Fab! Eat! Not so much? Adjust as needed. More salt… more nutritional yeast… garlic? Why not. The green sauce is your oyster. Spread on whatever it needs to be spread on, i.e. socca and pasta and other delicious things.

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Corn husks are obnoxious little suckers

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Okay so there’s this unwritten rule/trend thing in the food blogger universe that you’re apparently supposed to make red, white and blue food on Memorial Day. Barring that, at least burgers. And probably alcohol. At least barbecue-outside-summer-food. For heaven’s sake, grill SOMETHING.

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I charred something, does that count??

Oops.

Sorry.

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Except not really because um HELLO, TAMALES AND FLAN?!

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I just like to be different.

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This was sort of like a Carneval meets Cinco  de Mayo meets Memorial Day mash-up kind of feast. And I wouldn’t have it any other way in my nutty food universe. Straight up homemade green chile chicken tamales + coconut sugar flan + vegan, gf, refined sugar free peanut butter date-oat cookies (because there was time in between roasting the tomatillos, soaking the corn husks, and pureeing chilies and garlic and rolling/tying/otherwise fighting with the tamale wrappings—who knew corn husks were so freaking stubborn?!). But SO fun to make. Talk about feeling accomplished with your Sunday—tamales, cookies, homemade chicken stock, and flan all in about 4.5 hours? Boom.

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And even better, I had a cooking buddy! My friend Jill (of the blog Halfway There) and I have regular baking-cooking-kitchen shenanigans get togethers, and this was the latest. We both decided that tamales are WAY more fun with friends. Those corn husks are obnoxious little suckers… [isn’t there some saying to the effect of ‘shared pleasure in increased, shared pain is decreased’?? Something like that, which DEFS applies to tying tamales. Oi. We almost busted out the twine].

IMG_0422And then I had a FAB dinner… AND lunch o’ leftovers on Monday when I got to work for time and a half (yippee!!). Happy belated holiday weekend! Aren’t you glad you’re invisible internet friends with this weirdo who doesn’t bust open the grill on Memorial Weekend? Yeah. Me too.

And okay okay I know this picture is suuuuper inelegant but whatever. This was one of those “OMG! I have a thousand pretty pictures of the wrapped tamales and I’m hungry and OMG WAIT I JUST TOOK A BITE HOW IS THIS SO GOOD must share with my invisible internet friends but my food looks… um questionable by this point?! But they want to know!!! Snap snap snap” moments. You know. I promise that mess down there was mega delicious. Promise.

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Green Chile Chicken Tamales

Recipe only mildly adapted from Epicurious, here. Jill and I got about 18 good-sized tamales out of our batch, with a bit of leftover masa dough and chicken filling (we ran out of decent husks, which was fine by me since then I got leftover filling for lunch… and we got sick of tying them, haha). We also doubled the amount of the sauce, which are the amounts I’ll include below.

  • 1 6 oz bag of corn husks, soaked for at least 3 hours [place in a large pot, pour water over, and weight with a small pan so they stay submerged]
  • 1 pound of tomatillos, husked+rinsed
  • 4 jalapeños, seeded with ribs removed
  • 4 serrano peppers, seeded with ribs removed
  • 8 small garlic cloves
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 c packed, shredded chicken [we used the meat off of an entire rotisserie chicken]
  • 2/3 c chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/3 c organic vegetable shortening
  • 1.5 tsp salt*
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder*
  • 4 c freshly ground masa flour
  • 2 c low sodium chicken broth

*only if your masa DOESN’T have these

This only looks complicated… it’s just time consuming!

Method can be found here [ugh I’m just too lazy to type it all out and we followed it exactly sooo…. yeah. Laziness ensues].

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Coconut Sugar Flan

Again, not too difficult, though I for some reason always thought it would be. Yield: 8 ramekins or custard cups. It is refined sugar free and gluten free, but that’s about all you can say… sorry I’m not sorry this isn’t good for you! Ha. Sometimes you just gotta indulge. The recipe is adapted from Food 52, here!

  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 3/8 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 c half and half
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar (no, that’s not a typo…)

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Move your oven racks to the lower third, and preheat the oven to 350. Start a pot of water boiling on the stove. You’re going to need a water bath for this, so find a casserole dish or a baking dish that can comfortably hold all 8 of your ramekins. Set it all aside.

Whisk together 1/2 c coconut sugar+1/4 tsp sea salt in a small bowl. Pour the sugar/salt mix into the bottom of each ramekin, making sure the sugar is relatively evenly spread (I found it helpful to shake the ramekin slightly so the sugar would settle).

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, the other 1/2 c of coconut sugar, and remaining 1/8 tsp of salt until well combined. Heat the half and half in a saucepan until just steaming—you should be able to stick a finger in just barely, but it should be too hot for you to want to leave it there. Let the half and half cool for just a few minutes, then temper the eggs by pouring a ladleful at a time of the hot half and half into the eggs, whisking vigorously the whole time (nobody wants scrambled eggs in their flan. Ewwww), until you’ve poured in all your half an half. If you’ve ended up with egg bits, strain the mixture now (Jill and I have super whisking skills, there were no egg bits to be seen, yessss). Carefully skim the foam off the top of the liquid, then ladle the mixture careful into the ramekins, being careful not to disturb the sugar. Some will float up, but if you do it slowly enough most of it should stay down.

Remember that pan of boiling water? Yep, we need it now. Pour it carefully around the ramekins, until it comes about halfway up the sides of the dishes. CAREFULLY place this whole thing onto the bottom rack in your preheated oven. Bake until the flan is *just* wobbly in the center—-the very center should wobble, but it will look like it’s wobbling under a more solid top—-about 25-30 minutes, depending on your ramekin size and depth. Remove from the water bath with tongs, and let cool for 15 minutes before moving them to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edges of the custard and invert onto a plate. Ogle the amazing saucy, custardy deliciousness that has just appeared on your plate, and thank all the gods you decided to make tamales and flan on a random Sunday. Mmm.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, but wait what?! You have leftovers?? Hold the phone, I’m coming over…

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It’s Saturday and my brain has fallen out, has anyone seen it?

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Jazzercize, kelp noodles, and ecstatic dance.

That was my Wednesday.

You know, I kind of don’t even surprise myself anymore. Ha. Not that I’m predictable by any means, buuuut whenever I do something weird now it’s not weird. It’s just normal. Weird is my normal.

And I am SO okay with that.

Welcome to my weirdness. Not that you weren’t inundated with it already anyway—I make sure that enough of it makes it onto the blog so you can get a sufficient picture. Just in case you were at all unsure…

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But you LOVE my weirdness! Which is why you’re reading this anyway. Or just skip to the recipe if you’ve had enough weirdness for one day, it’s fine, we can still be friends.

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And one more thing. I just got off work and I need to get this off my chest. PLEASE KEEP YOUR DEMON CHILDREN OUT OF MY STORE.

Whew. Okay. I feel better now. But seriously. I like children. Really, I do. But I most definitely don’t appreciate them running screaming through the store and slamming things. Or attempting to slam each other into the bathroom door. Excuse me but WHERE IS YOUR PARENTAL UNIT?! And why aren’t they attached to you?? This is emphatically not babysitting, thankyouverymuch I am not paid for that so… no. Just no. There were two spectacular specimens of demon children in the store today that were completely unaccompanied and unsupervised for a good half an hour… really people? If you have children and take them shopping, please keep them attached to your person so that I don’t inadvertently drop kick them out of my section. Okaythanksherearesomestretchypantsbye.

Now I really feel better. And if you’ve stuck with me this long, here’s the reward for your waiting: a kelptastic noodley bowl! Yay!

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Kelptastic Noodle Bowl

Gluten free, vegan, and stuff. Like low carb, whatever whatever blah blah but really? It’s just delicious. Trust me. Recipe is from the depths of my brain and stomach. I was hungry, so this happened. Eeeeasillyyyy adaptable so use whatever you have on hand, but this particular combo is my favorite. In the pictures I used leftover chicken but I actually liked it better with black beans, so use whatever you have/like. I got three lunch servings (for me) out of a package of kelp noodles—probably would be enough dinner for 3.

  • 1 package kelp noodles, rinsed and cut into smaller pieces
  • two good handfuls of white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 3 tbsp almond butter (mine was salted)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • a good splash of coconut aminos (roughly 1 tbsp)
  • 1- 2 tbsp bragg’s liquid aminos*
  • 1 avocado, diced

*I use this to taste at the end—it depends on how salty your almond butter is or isn’t

Rinse and cut up kelp noodles so they’re a little more manageable. Toss all diced veggies into a steamer and steam until tender. In the bottom of a bowl large enough to hold all your veggies and noodles, whisk together almond butter, ginger, and coconut aminos. Add several tablespoons of warm water to thin out the sauce, then toss noodles, steamed veggies, beans, and cucumbers into the bowl and stir to combine, until sauce is evenly distributed. Salt and pepper as needed, and top with avocado. Devour immediately, obviously.

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Lemon+curd=heaven, Just sayin’ (even though this post is actually about chickpeas)

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I’d like to announce two things.

One. I very nearly almost just fell off my balance ball that I’m currently sitting on. As in, I got up and when I tried to sit down again it had rolled away. Luckily, since I am of superior intelligence (no comments please), I outwitted it and somehow managed to land back on the rolly round thing. HA.

Two. I think I ate my weight in lemon curd today. Ugh those scones are just SO GOOD and then the lemon curd is just SO GOOD ALSO and I just.can’t.stop. I mean, it would be such a shame to waste any, right??! Right. Lemon+curd=heaven. Just sayin.

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And three. Even though I only said two, too bad. Aerial yoga! It’s fun!! Just hangin’ out on a casual Tuesday night.

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But also.

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Chickpeas! Or alternatively garbanzo beans. Or whatever. Regardless, they’re delicious. And a hefty source of protein and fiber. Nothing to quibble over here, they’re clearly good for you. I’m absurdly obsessed with this lunch. Varying my diet? Ha. As if. I feel like I’ve eaten this for lunch the last several days in a row. Minus today, of course, when apparently I ate scones and lemon curd for lunch (reference above picture if you were at all confused about my devotion to anything that combines the words lemon and curd in the same sentence).

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But anyway. This makes a fab lunch or dinner, and can be thrown together in less time than it takes to actually eat it, which in my book is a plus when I return from yoga and needfoodnow. Also, this is one of those fabby dishes where you take whatever is lurking in your fridge, and voila, lunch! Love that. Almost as much as I love lemon curd and very nearly but not really falling off my balance ball.

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Chickpea Vegetable Sauté in Pumpkin Mustard Sauce

This recipe comes from my grey matter, and the depths of my fridge. Serves one, unless you mega increase ingredients. This is how I usually make it, with preferred ingredients, but feel free to substitute in whatever you have lurking about. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, high protein, high fiber.

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 a zucchini, chopped
  • 4-5 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 good handfuls of greens (mine are usually chard+spinach+kale, or arugula)
  • a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c chickpeas, if canned–drained and rinsed
  • 2 healthy spoonfuls of pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few squirts of stoneground mustard, to taste
  • sliced avocado for topping
  • chopped nuts for topping (I like cashews+walnuts)

Heat the glug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in celery, zucchini, mushrooms, and greens, and sauté them for a few minutes until the veggies begin to soften. Add chickpeas, pumpkin, and salt and pepper, and let cook until everything is heated through. Pour out in to a bowl, and stir in mustard. Top with avocado and chopped nuts! Diced cucumber is also good as a topper if you happen to have that around.

This makes great leftovers too, I’ve taken it for a work lunch more times than I can count.

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Polarizing little green nuggets

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BRUSSELS!

Yeah, I know. This is exactly what you want to see on a Sunday afternoon. But too bad.

These might be one of the most polarizing foods ever. Love them? Hate them? You probably fall into one of these camps—I doubt there are many who are ambivalent towards the little green nuggets…

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I love them. Obviously. It’s my blog… why would I post about something I hated? Weird. Anyway.. I digress. I *used* to hate brussel sprouts… probably because the first time I ate them I believe they were boiled, and I STILL think that’s a nasty way of preparing them. Ewww. Soggy brussels. Ain’t nobody go time for that.

So I don’t do that. I roast them! And then toss them in things that make them even more delicious. I’m not really sure when I discovered I liked them though, which is odd. I have a wildly specific food memory (like, maybe too specific. Surely that brain space could be used for something slightly more productive than remembering exactly what I ate at any given time/place/vacation/noteworthy event?! Whatever. At least the grey matter is occupied and amusing itself, right?). So anyway. My Saturday morning was spent roasting brussels and doing yoga (what a shocking combination if you know me, NOT), and then this morning after doing (you’ll never guess) MORE YOGA (!!) I ate more of them. And it’s raining!! Win, win, win.

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And also this morning I made some grain free banana bread, which is incidentally delicious but also half of it stuck to the pan so oops I had to eat a bunch of it because now it’s crumbs and hello, crumbs are designed to be eaten. Maybe I’ll make a habit of not fully greasing my pans from now on just to create crumbs, muahhaa. No not really. But kind of amusing to contemplate…

Anyway. Happy Sunday! Here are some brussels to distract you from whatever you need to be distracted from.

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Stoneground Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This might seem like kind of a weird combo to start off with, but stick with me, I promise they’re delicious. I used two bags of Trader Joe’s organic brussels, each about 14 oz I think. Recipe serves 3, with a bit left over. Gluten free, vegan.

  • 2 bags of brussel sprouts, halved/quartered and with yuck ends trimmed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grade B organic maple syrup
  • 2 tsp stoneground mustard

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Preheat oven to 400.
Prep brussel sprouts by trimming off the yuck end, and halving or quartering them depending on how big they are. Some of the outer leaves can be a little tough and usually come off as you trim them, which is fine. Toss sprouts with avocado oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until all are evenly coated. Distribute the sprouts onto a rimmed cookie sheet, flipping them so that they are cut-side down. Roast for 15 minutes, then take the tray out and flip them over to the other side. They should be nicely browned and starting to caramelize! Roast them for another 13-15 minutes, then take them out to cool slightly.

While the sprouts are roasting, whisk together olive oil, maple, and mustard in a smallish bowl. Transfer the sprouts to a larger bowl, and drizzle the dressing over all of them, tossing to combine and evenly coat them. Serve hot! Yum yum yum.

These are good. Promise. Even if you hate brussel sprouts, you should at least give them a try… they’re good for you! And delicious (I know I know, to each his or her own..)

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My cats are here to show me the way to inner bliss

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Let’s talk about cats.

Mark Twain once said, “Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat” (Notebook, 1894)… and how true this is. Cats are such enlightened little furry beings—we discussed this in my last post because Nosh definitely stares at me with his third eye. Definitely. What cat likes banana bread, lentil-apple sandwiches, and butternut squash pancakes unless he’s a guru?! Right. See?

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My cats share tidbits of enlightened wisdom with me every day. For instance… Obviously, inner peace can be achieved easily by a five hour nap on the heater vent, followed by a massive stretch and a round of kibble hockey… and then the search for a warm human to nap on for the next hour. And… repeat. Ohmmm. Inner peace.

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They also are excellent reminders to live in the moment. Mine always do. Picture this: I am cooking. In the kitchen. There are two pairs of eyes staring at me incessantly. Those eyes are very clearly saying: “In this moment, I want snacks. My kibble is in the laundry room. Why aren’t you walking over there? Snacks are for this moment. And then for the moment a moment from now. And then you will let me outside, and I will eat some bugs in a very enlightened manner to illustrate the interconnectedness of the universe”. You see how wise they are? It’s mind boggling.

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In the next life I’m coming back as a cat. A real cat, not just as a really bendy human with cat friends. Because that way I can achieve inner peace by napping for the majority of the day, eating a few bugs, and then finding a human to sleep on. That sounds like a pretty fabulous proposition, doesn’t it?!

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My cats do yoga and have kitty chakras. It’s okay, you’re allowed to be jealous.

In the short term, feel free to make this pizza and achieve a small measure of enlightened gastronomical wisdom. In a pinch (and in your lack of wise cat friends), it’ll do.

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Vegan Pizza on a Pumpkin Crust

This pizza surprised me! It came together quite fast, with things I had lurking around in the pantry. It was perfect for lunch and leftovers. The crust is gluten free (and can be nut free), made with pumpkin puree. The sauce is veggietastic and delicious—and vibrantly green! Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free (could be nut free with all cornmeal and no almond flour). Both crust and sauce loosely adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+4 tbsp water
  • 3 c pumpkin puree (2 cans worth)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/8 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1.25 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 c raw spinach, packed
  • 1.5 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt

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Preheat oven to 425, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In  a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 4 tbsp water. Set aside for the time being. In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, almond flour, cornmeal, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp flaxseed, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir in soaked flax. Spread the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making a roughly oblong-type shape (or not, whatever floats your boat) with edges a bit thicker than the middle. Bake for just about 30 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are just beginning to brown (you should be able to peel it off the parchment paper).

While the crust is baking, make the sauce! In a food processor, whirl together soaked cashews , spinach, peas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, basil, and salt. I highly suggest tasting and adjusting as you go, it’s much more fun that way. Puree until the sauce is chunk-free and smooth.

When the crust is done, spread sauce around evenly, and top with veggies of choice. I used sautéed arugula, bell peppers, and zucchini, but use whatever you have on hand. Bake for another 5 minutes, then let cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving. I found that a sprinkle of salted, roasted cashews added just the right crunch and made a nice garnish.

Leftovers store well and taste equally delicious the next day! I stored mine in a glass continuer in the fridge.

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A snapshot of my random (and undeniably fab) life

Welcome to Random Friday! I have several nice lifeish photos hanging out on my phone and they need a home. And I figured I would accompany them with several hilarious anecdotes about my life, because… well, why not? My blog, my rules. And besides, I’ve heard y’all think I’m funny so I thought I’d brighten up your Friday. Ready… GO!

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Purple nails and letters from Avis deVoto and Julia Child. Because I’m awesome. And because this is the pile on my end table: reinforcing my own stereotype or something?!

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I love it when my chocolate loves me back!

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Somehow yesterday morning I managed to get roughly 1.5 cups of raw (which then became cooked) spinach, half a zucchini, a carrot, a quarter cup of wild blueberries, and a quarter cup of applesauce into my oatmeal. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is… take that, five-a-day! I think this is a new record, even for me…

Of course there was also the obligatory chia seeds, almond butter, shredded unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a teeny bit of maple. Maybe a little bee pollen. And yes. There were, in fact, oats in there too. Sadly it was too delicious and I ate it too fast for there to be a picture. Next time..

Mmmm. And it was DELICIOUS. Naturally. I don’t bother starting off my days with undelicious things. Why bother? Life is way too short for that.

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And then I added lentils to my go-to quinoa cakes. INSPIRED. Why has this never transpired before?!

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AND THEN. I’ve been replacing whole wheat flour with lots of other favorite alternatives lately… but my favorite is sprouted quinoa flour in this banana bread. It’s already my fave bbread recipe, but it gets that.much.better with quinoa flour. Besides, I get rave reviews from several of my gastronomically-inclined peeps so I know it’s not just in my head…

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Crystalized ginger is really pretty.

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And the obligatory cat-napping photo… Jessie doesn’t want you to disturb her napping human! Alternatively… the napping human is hogging too much of the pillow…

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Wise kitty of the forest.

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Family traditions and some bacon (because why wouldn’t you add bacon?!)

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Happy slightly belated New Year!

2014 already?! Hard to believe. But I am fully determined to manifest the best.year.ever. Sparkly, bright, and new. And HAPPY! As Voltaire once wisely said, “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health”. Mantra for 2014? Check.

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Welcome to my family: with a grandmother hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, there was no escaping the obligatory good-luck meal for New Year’s day (not that I would want to escape it, it’s DELICIOUS). Black eyed peas+rice, cabbage with bacon [uncured and nitrate free, obviouslyyyy], and cornbread. All for good luck, though with different connotations: greens are for money, and cornbread for gold… and then I’m not entirely sure of the story behind the black eyed peas, but they’re lucky. Just accept it and move on.

It’s not New Years without some black eyed peas.

Why are they called peas? They’re obviously beans…

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Anyway…

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Despite the fact that I don’t drink, apparently I make good drinks: this one was even named after me!! Meet the HayBay! Kind of like a mimosa except not. A bit of bubbly, ginger liqueur, and ruby red grapefruit juice. Rather like me, I suppose… bubbly? Sassy? And maybe a little tart, ha.

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Happy TwentyFourteen! Much joy, laughter, and happiness to you and yours in the new year. Go hug someone :)

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New Year’s Cabbage with Bacon

I’m not even going to do this recipe-style… as far as I know I’ve never seen this recipe written down—all I know is that it comes from the southern side of the fambam. Technically I suppose this recipe is gluten free and paleo!

Cut up a big head of cabbage. Don’t worry about shredding it, just hack it into fork-sized, manageable chunks. After that’s done, slice up 5-6 stalks of celery.

Assuming you previously cooked up a good-sized skillet of [uncured, nitrate-free] baconony goodness (sorry, this is in no way, shape or form a vegetarian recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry, sometimes a girl’s gotta have bacon!), dump some of the leftover bacon grease into the largish soup pot you’re using for the cabbage. Sauté the cabbage and celery in the bacon fat unit it gets soft, but still has a crunch to it. Toss in diced bacon bits and salt, pepper, and hot sauce it up to suit your taste. We use Crystal hot sauce for this, since it’s a family tradition.

Serve hot, with black eyed peas cooked with more bacon (duh) and some cornbread (mine happened to be vegan… can’t get too far away from those contradictions, can we?!).

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Happy New Year!

Full-tilt jungle madness [ie holiday whilst working retail]

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Happy Solstice! I was definitely wishing I was at Stonehenge tonight [not Sconehenge. We already know I’ve been there…].

Four days till Christmas?

Yep.

Holiday retail madness is in full tilt jungle mode. Oi. We had a line to the back of the store for the majority of my shift today, and I literally felt like a ping pong ball trying to get from the back of the store to the front. “Excuse me, excuse me, oops sorry, ‘scuse me” don’t mind me, I’m just carrying two FULLY LOADED hanger caddies which are awkward and heavy and no, it’s fine if you just sort of stand there, no big deal, it’s just a really good thing that I’m nimble and quite agile…

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Path of least resistance becomes a game of finding the smallest spaces between people and convincing yourself that you really do in fact fit through them. Oh. And yes, I most definitely DO work here, thanks for asking… I mean, as much as I find folding pants therapeutic, I don’t usually fold them for fun, you know?! Especially when they’re exploding out of the pant wall due to extreme being-shopped-ness. Literally exploding. Seeing is believing, people.

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Good thing too that this bit of deliciousness awaited me on my break. Thankfully, or I might have passed out due to a potent combination of hunger, cash/wrap repetitiveness, and energetic dancing (obviously— you have to move around a lot when you’re ringing at the register to get the blood flowing).

Can I unscrew my smile now? I think my jaw is permanently stuck.

Mmm. For times when you need a hefty dose of iron and some delicious flavors, this recipe should be in your back pocket.

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Afghani Beef with Acorn Squash

Recipe adapted from Afghan Online, here. Mom discovered this one a while ago, and we’ve been fans ever since. It comes together fairly easily, and serves 3 with plentiful leftovers. Gluten free and paleo! Also delicious sans acorn squash if you don’t happen to have any, you could totally serve this over couscous or quinoa, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles from your spiralizer… you name it, it’s probably delicious.

Rustle up the following:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground beef (grass fed organic)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water, divided
  • 1 mediumish zucchini
  • 2-3 c raw spinach
  • 2 acorn squash, halved
  • avocado oil

Preheat oven to 425. To roast acorn squash, brush them with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip them cut side down on a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet, and roast until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Using a food processor or a powerful blender (I don’t possess this, so food processor it is), process onion and 1/2 c water. Pour this into a saucepan over medium heat, and add beef. Cook until the beef is browned, then add the other 1/2 c water, garlic, coriander, pepper, and tomato sauce. Grate zucchini into the pan, and toss in rinsed spinach. Let the whole thing simmer for about 20-25 minutes more, until ready to serve.

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