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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Whiny ultrasonic phone calls and soothing cookies

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Scientific fact: rainy weather = tea + baking.

Obviously. Ask Stephen Hawking, I’m sure he would back me up.

Well… okay maybe not. But the fact that it’s actually FINALLY raining over here in droughty California meant that I obviously had to make cookies and drink tea. Not that those are things I don’t usually do… but I enjoy them so much more when it’s drizzly. Or pouring. Preferably pouring, actually.

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And then I can eat a cookie, go dance in the rain, and then come back in and drink tea. A perfect combination of fun things.

Which is a really nice thing after a day at work where apparently the theme of the day was me repeating myself over.and over.and over. and over: *cue really high octave, rather whiny voice*

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Caller: “Ummm, hiiiiiii, I was just wonderinggggg” (Seriousy. I’m not joking. For some reason, EVERY SINGLE PERSON that calls the store speaks in whiny-ultrasonic. WHY?!) “if you had this puffy jacket…”
Me: “Yes, actually we do, but I’m sorry, we can’t do holds (as per company policy)..”
Caller: “Okayyyyy so can you do a hold for me?”
Me: “Um, no, I’m sorry… we don’t do holds”
Caller: “But um, you could just hold it for me, riiiight?”
Me: “No. I can’t do holds, I’m sorry.”
Caller: “Buuuuut, you could do one for me, riiiiight? Like, you could just hide it somewhere?”
Me: “Um. No. That’s not really possible… Sorry.”
Caller: “But… I neeeeeed it! Like, can’t you just do one little hold?”
Me: “… “

Really?! The answer the first time is no…and the answer the thirty thousandth time is also no. The more you wheedle, the less likely I am to even consider making an exception… what don’t they understand about the first no?! And speaking in ultrasonic is in no way making me want to be helpful, also taking into consideration that the first “hiiiiiii” pretty much shattered my ear drum? Yeah. No.

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BUT! As annoying as these phone calls are, they make excellent stories. So there you have it, my retail annoyance of the day. Go soothe yourself with a cookie, I know it was traumatic…

Now I think I’m going to go locate my snuggle buddy (kitties make the best snuggle buds), my tea, and my novel and go park myself on the couch. It’s a mellow kind of day today… frankly that seems like the perfect activity. Snuggles, tea, and cookies? I’m in.

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Almond-Date Cookies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and vegan! Yay! These little guys are also high in fiber, low in sugar, and filled with healthy fats and good carbs. They’re a little crumbly around the edges, and chewy-dense in the middle. Awesome snacky cookies, or dessert if you’re not into super sweet things. Yield: 15 cookies. Recipe lightly adapted from Running on Real Food, here!

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, finely chopped (or run through the food processor)
  • 1.5 c rolled oats, finely ground (I also used the food processor for this)
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat groats
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 c light coconut milk (canned variety)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dates, finely chopped* (Mine were hard as rocks so I soaked them in hot water for a bit first)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar*

*I was a little short on dates and really only had between 1/3c and a scant 1/2 c, so I supplemented slightly with 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar. The cookies are lightly sweet.

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In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, chopped almonds, ground oats, buckwheat groats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a slightly smaller bowl, stir together coconut milk, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Mix wet into dry, then stir in dates, coconut sugar (if using) and chocolate chippies. Chill the dough for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease). Roll the dough into balls, and flatten slightly. Bake for 13 minutes, until lightly browned on the top! Remove to a cooling rack after a few minutes to cool completely.

These do best if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Happy rain and cookies!

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Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

Planning Fail.

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It was cold.

I sat on my exercise ball and studied bio until my eyes crossed.

I wanted soup.

And cornbread. We’ve been over this…. soup is just an excuse for carby sides. With BUTTER. Because, I ask you… what is better than butter?!

Anyway. I digress.

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Soup. There’s a quick potato soup that I’m fond of. It happens to be vegan, comes together faster than you can say boomshakalaka! and is obviously also delicious. This is rather the route I was attempting to go tonight, except I kind of got maybe not even a third into the recipe before I realized I actually didn’t have half the ingredients I was supposed to. Whooops. Planning fail.

So I made soup anyway. Kind of jankily. With the butt ends of things found in the fridge, and minimal ingredients. And it was (emphasis on the past tense here) delicious. And… it’s GREEN! Obviously I love it. Green things rock.

I also decided to put sprouted quinoa flour in my cornbread. A wise decision and one I’m sure I’ll be repeating… and homg BUTTER! ON my cornbread. Obviously a decision that I a) never regret and b) why would you ever regret butter?!

So here you go! A nice, fridge-scrounging Thursday night recipe when your brain is fogged and you think you have more groceries than you apparently actually do.

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Boomshakalaka Potato Soup!

Recipe from… the depths of my grey matter. And my fridge. Serves  3 for dinner, with leftovers for one. Beyond excellent with cornbread, hellooooooo obviously you need an excuse for butter. I like this recipe best! But this time I replaced 1/2 c whole wheat flour with 1/2 c sprouted quinoa flour. Delicious.

  • 6-7 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 a clove garlic
  • 2 c low-sodium veggie stock
  • 4 c raw spinach
  • heaping 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: chopped cashews for a classy garnish

In a pot, bring some water to a boil, chuck in your chopped potatoes, and boil until they’re fork tender.

In a larger soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in garlic clove and celery, and sauté until the celery is soft. Add spinach, and cover the pot until everything gets wiltified. Once the potatoes are done, drain them, then add them to the pot with all the other veggie biz. Add stock, then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in nutritional yeast, salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you might like, this isn’t a recipe so much as a template..). Season to taste! Serve hot. Also delicious with some chopped cashews for a classy garnish.

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I made Lentil Loaf! Shocked? No, I thought not.

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Sometimes I can’t even believe some of the things that come out of my mouth.

Like, “Oh yeah, I don’t use refined sugar when I bake, but I use it for fermenting my kefir water starter, the kefir grains seem like they prefer refined sugars”.

Um, okay… I have fermenting kefir grains on my counter for my probiotic kefir water. No big deal, doesn’t everyone??

Also. My breakfast is most often green. But… maybe you already knew that?

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Sometimes I amaze even myself with my crunchiness. Or alternativeness. Or organicness. Or awesomeness. Pick word, any word!

Tonight, I’m real granola. I made… lentil loaf.

Yep. Shocker, I know.

What else could you possibly be expecting?! My work nickname is Lentil, after all ;)

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And I know it’s like THE number one vegan stereotype food, but sorry I’m not sorry it’s a) delicious, b) not made with any of that freaky fake meat/soy product business, c) whole foods are the way to go, d) I’m already pretty much a stereotype (reference leg warmers, fermenting kefir grains, nutritional yeast, and the fact that I bring my composting home), so that boils down to e) I happily embrace this most stereotypical of foods. I knew *I* would love it (says the girl who puts spinach and carrots in her oatmeal)… but would OTHER people (those notsogranola types) like it??

Tonight, I fed one of my best friends lentil loaf.

And…

She’s still my friend! Ha. Success. In fact, she *LIKED* it! I sweetened the deal with some mashed potatoes (because obviously what ELSE would you eat with lentil loaf?! Helloooo, mashed potatoes go with all things loaflike). But both she and the rest of the fambam luuuurved the lentil loaf!! So much so that they nicknamed it LeLo (pronounced ley-low). I personally like LENTIL LOAF since it sort of typifies the stereotype and makes me laugh, but there you have it.

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Exhibit A. Lentil Loaf.

Delicious, quick, and fabulous. A nice riff on your “traditional American meal” except that it so totally isn’t. And of course it’s served on my fab elephant plate from when I was teeny.

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Vegan Lentil Loaf

Recipe adapted slightly from 86 Lemons, here! Makes one 9 by 5 pan, serves 4 easily for dinner with leftovers. Gluten free and vegan. It comes together in a snap—probably the longest part is cooking the lentils, which is easily done in advance.

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds+6 tbsp water [2 flax eggs]
  • 2 c cooked green lentils (1 c dry yields a bit more than 2 c cooked), split into 1.5 and 1/2 c
  • 1 c rolled oats, divided
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 c mushrooms, diced (I used white button mushrooms)
  • 2 c fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 3/4 organic ketchup, divided
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1/2 c almond flour

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Preheat oven to 375, and line a 9 by 5 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing enough to hang over the sides like handles.

Combine flaxseed and water, and set aside until it gels into an ‘eggy’ consistency.

In a food processor, combine 1.5 c cooked lentils and 1/2 c of oats. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth, adding in the almond milk in between pulses. Toss all this into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c ketchup, 1/8 c nutritional yeast, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.  Add olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Toss in onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add in mushrooms, oregano, and spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in the ketchup/nutritional yeast/vinegar combo, and set aside.

Going back to the large bowl with the lentil-oat biz, stir in the other 1/2 c of rolled oats, almond flour, flax egg, 1/4 c nutritional yeast, and the onion-mushroom mixture. Stir it all together (and use your hands, it’s really fun), making sure everything is nicely combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothysmooth the top of it, and the have fun painting the top with the last 1/4 c of ketchup. Bake for 35-40 minutes, let cool for a few in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack (using the nifty parchment paper handles) to sit before slicing. Mine was perfect at 35 minutes.

Makes excellent leftovers—just store in the fridge!

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I ALWAYS play with my food…

Soup is just an excuse for bread, don’t try to deny it!

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Soooooop.

And bread.

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Because obviously you can’t have soup without some bready, carby side dish. We all know that soup is really an excuse for bread, let’s be real here.

But mmmmm, soup. I do love it (but I DO NOT love photographing it. Ugh). ESPECIALLY now that I have this fabby immersion blender!! Which means that I can dispense with all that silliness of attempting to blend soup in a food processor (no, I don’t own a normal blender), which is a dumb idea as a) soup is hot. Hot things expand and b) food processors aren’t watertight (rude). So instead of soup going slightly all over the counter, now I can just bust out the trusty immersion blender, stick it in the pot of soup buzz buzz buzz and low and behold!! Creamy soup, no mess required. Genius.

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Also. I bought a spiralizer. Possibly the BEST decision I have ever made. And also possibly the most fun kitchen utensil ever created.

See?

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Reeeeealllyyyy looooooong zucchini noodles! So much fun to play with. Obviously avoided if you do the smart thing and cut the zucchini in half first, but why spoil your fun? Incredibly long noodles are so much more entertaining. And delicious, especially when you top them with bison pasta sauce and other delicious things. Unfortunately, it was slightly too delicious and there went that before I managed to take a picture of anything besides the noodles. Whoops! Next time.

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Anyway. Let’s get seasonal! Hellooooo autumn, you’re my favorite. The day I made this, I ate three sources of beta carotene in one day. No eye problems for me!
This soup is very easy, comes together in a snap, and is (naturally) delicious. The muffins are awesome too, likewise easy and delicious. In fact, if you time it right, you can bake them while the squash is simmering, then blend your soup and have everything hot at the same time. Wheee!

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Ginger-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4, with leftovers. Recipe inspired by Whole Foods, here! Gluten free, can be vegan with veggie broth.

  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (yield: 4 c diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or diced
  • 3.5 c veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk (out of the can)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pepitas, for garnish!

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in onion, carrot, and cucumbers, and let cook until the onion is translucent (about 5ish minutes). Add ginger, let cook a few minutes more. Finally, add stock, squash, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the squash is fork-tender (about 30 minutes). Once squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. An upright blender is fine too, just make sure the soup is cool enough.
Garnish with pepitas just before serving!

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

My yield was 10, in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins. I never fill them all the way, but these muffins came out a totally normal size. High in vitamin A, low fat, refined sugar free, and whole grain! Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 1 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil).

Whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, almond milk, yogurt, melted butter and pumpkin puree. Combine wet into dry, mixing just to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 15 minutes (a tester should come out clean, and the tops should be slightly browned). Let cool for a few before turning out onto a cooling rack.
I’m sure these keep well, but ours didn’t last that long!