Strawberry Season!

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Happy Weekend!

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The strawberries are perfect over here right now – so, so perfect! I picked up a carton over the weekend and knew I needed to do something with them, besides just eat them over my sink.

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I love the idea of olive oil cakes – olive oil is one of my favorite things anyway, and putting it in cake just makes it that much better. Obviously all of my desserts trend not-so-sweet, and this one is no exception: the strawberries provide the necessary sweetness against the more mellow, lightly fruity cake.

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We decided that the cake itself is somewhat of a cornbread – shortbread hybrid (not so much in texture but in taste) – especially when eaten with ice cream and strawberries; we both go bonkers for cornmeal & polenta over here so it’s a win all around.

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Besides that, it’s a very easy cake that comes together in a snap and doesn’t require any overly unusual ingredients. We ate it for dessert and also (because it’s us!) for breakfast yesterday morning – no photos since it was a hurried morning, but never fear – it was eaten alongside the usual eggs, kale and coffee!

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Still loving the photos from last week’s hike to Twin Peaks – here is another of my favorites. This looks like it could be the Elysian Fields or something of that nature!

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Anyway – seize the moment of perfect strawberries, and put them on cake! Happy weekend!

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Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Strawberries

Fruity, very lightly sweet cake that is something of a cross between cornbread and a shortcake – we really noticed the comparison to shortcake with eaten with ice cream and strawberries, but it is also great for breakfast of course, with a little extra olive oil and strawberries. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Yield: 1 8″ cake.

1/2 c olive oil
1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c maple
4 eggs
zest of one meyer lemon
3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
strawberries for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan – if not using a springform, cut large strips of parchment paper to go underneath the cake with their edges hanging over the pan edge to make for easy removal.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until pale yellow in color. Beat in olive oil, maple, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack completely for about an hour before serving.

I cut up strawberries a few hours before serving and tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil and meyer lemon juice – I let them sit until serving and they were DELICIOUS. Highly recommended.

Serve with strawberries and ice cream and maybe an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Cake keeps really well covered in foil on the counter overnight & is excellent for breakfast – I’d eat it within three days for maximal freshness.

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Can’t stop, won’t stop with the citrus!

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Can you tell we love citrus over here? I think the last… 3? or 5? (I think it’s five…) desserts have featured those beautiful hued little guys…

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I’d have to say it’s a three-way tie for my favorite citrus between grapefruit, meyer lemon and blood oranges…luckily, this cake covers two out of three!

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Once again, it’s a dessert that easily does double duty for breakfast – just add some ice cream for dessert and you’re good to go. I love lemon curd on anything, so this is an easy sell for me. We loved it both ways – it’s almost scone-like when eaten alongside eggs & kale! (and coffee. let’s not leave that out)

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I’ve never used mace in my baking prior to this – apparently, it’s a relative of nutmeg, which I never knew. It plays really well against citrus, both grapefruit and meyer lemon, and adds a really interesting flavor profile. I love olive oil in cakes like this – it brings a rich fruitiness that isn’t otherwise found in butter or coconut oil.

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In other news, same ‘ol on the health issues front – I am still looking for answers and still frustrated. As I’ve said before, I try to keep it light in this space, but I have to admit this wasn’t a banner week for me. A little therapeutic baking and some quality time with fave human went a long way towards making the week seem not so overwhelming.

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Meyer lemons are perfect right now – and if anything is therapeutic, it is the scent of meyers! I love making curd with them – in fact, I had made and frozen a few batched not that long ago. Down to one now… which will probably get consumed next week, knowing how we roll around here.

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Happy almost-April! Go make yourself some citrusy goodness.

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Grapefruit Polenta Cake with Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten free and refined sugar free. Light, springtime dessert – or breakfast – this cake is fruity from the olive oil and grapefruit, and goes perfectly alongside a huge dollop of lemon curd or some ice cream, or better yet, both. We loved it both for dessert and breakfast – it’s almost reminiscent of a scone, so works well alongside eggs and kale. Yield: 1 9″ cake, serves 2-8. Cake adapted from Saveur magazine, here. Be careful with the bake time on this one – I was going by the recipe and it ended up slightly on the dry side b/c I didn’t pull it soon enough. I updated my bake times below to reflect that – otherwise, the flavor is stellar! And a large drizzle of lemon curd solves the dryness issue just fine ;)

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For the curd – my favorite recipe to date:

2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 c meyer lemon juice
zest of 4 meyer lemons
pinch of sea salt
2.5 tbsp maple syrup
3.5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

I used a double boiler for this lemon curd, which literally is a game changer. Highly recommended! Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the butter one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the lemon curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat and store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use.

For the cake:

scant 1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c grapefruit juice
zest of 2 grapefruits
2⁄3 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2⁄3 cup brown rice flour
1⁄3 cup almond flour
1⁄3 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal, preferably Bob’s Red Mill
3 tbsp arrowroot starch
3 tbsp. tapioca starch
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground mace
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350, and either use an 8″ springform pan OR do like I did and use a 9″ cake pan, well greased and lined with two thick strips of parchment paper so that you can lift the cake out onto a cooling rack easily.

Whisk maple, zest and juices, plus yogurt, oil, and egg in a bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk rice and almond flours, cornmeal, arrowroot and tapioca starches, baking powder, mace, and salt until combined; make a well in the center. Whisk in yogurt mixture until a smooth batter forms. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, removing parchment from underneath if you used it. Let cool completely before serving.

Store any leftovers covered on the counter – this is a cake that dries out quickly, so I’d recommend eating it within a day or two of baking.

Serve with meyer lemon curd, more sliced grapefruit & ice cream for dessert, or just with lemon curd for breakfast!

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An entirely a-peel-ing banana cake

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Hello hello!

I have cake for you today.

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Actually, this is well timed since that holiday of all Hallmark holidays is coming up next Wednesday; since it’s inexplicably tied to chocolate – here you go! This one is dense, dark and exceptionally chocolatey without being overbearing, and the banana flavor comes through nicely so it ends up being a hybrid somewhere between chocolate cake and banana bread. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

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Besides that, somehow I’d forgotten how much I love walnuts and dark chocolate together – and I’m of the opinion that ginger should almost always hang out with chocolate, so that’s a no brainer.

Also – rioting, demanding bananas:

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This cake was loved by both of us – it’s excellent with ice cream for desserty shenanigans and while a little heavy for a big breakfast slice alongside eggs and kale, little wedges are definitely doable ;) a little chocolate in the morning alongside coffee never comes amiss.

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In other news, my plants are happy to be getting more sunshine these days, though I have to say I’d prefer a bit more winter before we do spring, please.

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So! Make cake, eat with loved ones, be happy. Especially because it’s gluten free, refined sugar free and high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. It’s really a health food in disguise…

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Dark Chocolate Banana Cake with Olive Oil, Ginger & Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free – dark chocolatey banana cake with hits of ginger and chunky walnuts. Not too sweet but a hefty chocolate dose – the olive oil and sea salt temper the natural banana sweetness for a step up from your typical banana bread. Besides, I forgot how much I loved walnuts and chocolate together! Yield: 1 9″ or 10″ cake depending on pan of choice (see below). Heavily adapted from Food52, here.

1c almond flour
1/2 brown rice flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c maple syrup
1.5 c ripe bananas (from about 3 large bananas), mashed with a fork until smooth
1/4 c plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1.5 tps vanilla extract
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup (65g) chopped walnuts
1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter or grease a 9″ cake pan (or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or a 9×5-inch loaf pan) – I used a 9″ metal cake pan and it worked just fine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, maple, mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the chocolate, walnuts and ginger again just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan or skillet.

Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 28 to 35 minutes (start checking at about 22 minutes for doneness – thinner pans will be done faster. If you used a loaf pan, baking time will be more like 60 minutes). Let cool in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving. I like it cold too, straight out of the fridge, but you do you. Also excellent with ice cream, obviously. Keeps well covered in the fridge if you can make it last longer than a day ;)

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Appropriately autumnal baking

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There is something so soothing about early morning baking. I don’t necessarily choose to bake at 6:30a, but when a workout and work have to happen before I can deliver & eat dessert, baking by necessity becomes an early morning activity. That being said, though, it’s a very meditative way to spend a morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.

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Of course, then of course there’s that moment when you go to put socks on and somehow find some crystallized ginger stuck to your foot… um… no comment.

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It also gives me a great sense of productivity to know I’ve created something before I even leave the house that day – and then add a workout and a highly productive work day and by 6p I feel extraordinary accomplished.

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And THEN I get to eat cake! Ha. Win win, all around. Besides, coming back into my apartment after work, I’m greeted with a waft of OMG THIS CAKE SMELLS AMAZING – always a good sign.

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This cake was well loved by both of us – it is definitely going on the to-make-again list – and I have high standards for that list! The cornmeal/polenta give it great texture – it’s a cross somewhere between cake and cornbread, in the best way possible. It’s amazing with ice cream for dessert, and equally so alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – see exhibit A below.

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Besides that, just in case you needed proof as to how loved this cake was, see exhibit B:

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No crumbs. One (large) slice left – that is after a stint of very productive yard work & leaf raking – that cake had NO chance.

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I can’t believe it’s already November. What happened to October?! Happy autumn!

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Apple Ginger Polenta Cake

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Lightly sweet, sort of like a cross between cake and cornbread – perfect for dessert (served with ice cream!) and breakfast alongside eggs and leafy green things. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves… um… 2! Ha.

1 c almond meal
2/3 c yellow corn meal (I used medium grind)
1/3 c rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/6 c maple sugar
1/6 maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c crystallized ginger chunks, chopped*

*I have also made this with fresh ginger and it’s equally amazing; finely mince peeled, fresh ginger root and add to the batter. The quantity is up to you – I love ginger, so I used a knob probably about 1.5″ long

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper, or do like I did and use strips of parchment paper for easy removal. Be sure to grease the pan first though to prevent any stickage.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple sugar and maple syrup until soft and fluffy. Add in olive oil and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, rice flour, and baking powder. Stir dry into wet. Cut one and a half apples into cubes and thinly slice remaining half. Add the apple cubes and chopped ginger and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out a bit.

Arrange a few apple slices on top of the cake, sprinkle with a bit of maple (or coconut) sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes; mine was perfect at 40. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly during baking, you can always tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.

I stuck mine in the fridge for a few hours of storage, which didn’t hurt it at all. It keeps well on the counter overnight (covered with foil), and makes a ridiculously amazing addition to breakfast the next day!

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IMG_1632Early morning mis en place…

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2017: the tale of demanding, reincarnating bananas

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2017 treats everyone a little better than last year – 2016 was a rough one for many. But as they say, onward and upward! Preferably with cake, which is where I come in.

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The dead bananas are calling! I had a plethora lurking around my kitchen this weekend and they put me on notice that they really wanted to reincarnate into something amazing… not banana bread again, if you please (my bananas can get a little demanding sometimes…). That being said, I had a hankering for banana cake (fundamentally different from banana bread, you see), so THIS happened!

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Happily so. Have you ever had sautéed dates? No? Get into the kitchen immediately and make them! I love dates anyway, but they are mindblowingly good when given a little bath in some olive oil and sea salt. I’ve always been a salt monster, so salty-sweet desserts are absolutely my jam, and these little powerhouses deliver. Besides that, they’re full of good nutrients (dates are high in vit A & K, plus potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & zinc. woohoo!).

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This cake is actually full of good things – you have healthy fats from almond flour, hazelnuts, and coconut, and all the good stuff in dates. And besides that, most critically: it’s delicious, which is good for your soul.

Let’s see, what else? Jessie says hello (this is her way of chatting me up during breakfast, adorable cat)

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More drawings, of course! New year, same series! This is the Havens Mansion, built 1884 on S. Van Ness in SF.

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My first activity of 2017! Shocked? Nope.

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More beautiful sky!

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Show your new and improved 2017 self some love with some sautéed dates atop your cake, and revel in all the possibilities of a new year. Onward!

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Banana Date Skillet Cake with Coconut Frosting, Maple Hazelnuts, and Sautéed Dates

Pretty freaking amazing, if I do say so! Lightly sweet banana cake with jewel-like date pieces, coconut frosting and OMG sautéed dates, please make them immediately. Serve with a bit of ice cream or non-dairy biz if that’s your jam! Can’t miss either way. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake, enough frosting to frost the top (cake is served straight out of the skillet); extra hazelnuts because you’ll definitely want extras… and the amount of dates is up to you (make extra!). Skillet cake adapted from Confessions of a Confectionista, here!

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For the cake:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • heaping 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped

For the maple hazelnuts (make ahead, if desired):

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

For the sautéed dates:

  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 7-8 medjool dates, halved & pitted
  • pinch of sea salt

For the coconut frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled upside-down overnight in the fridge
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I usually make the hazelnuts ahead and store them in a jar until needed. Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet with coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then add eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, and use an electric mixer to beat until combined. Stir in the chopped dates, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when touched. The cake will brown because of the honey – if you feel it’s browning too fast, feel free to cover it with foil. Let cool completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make the sautéed dates! (good luck not eating them all straight out of the pan). In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the dates and sauté, stirring frequently, until they caramelize and are heated through, just about 2-3 minutes (the edges will start to get a little crispy). Watch them carefully, as they burn easily. When done, move them to a bowl to cool and sprinkle with sea salt (be sure to get all of the good oil out of the pan for drizzling!).

Also while the cake is cooling, make the coconut frosting. Open the can of coconut milk rightside up, and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla and coconut sugar, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

For serving: Frost the cake with the coconut whip (make sure to frost the cake once it’s completely cool! otherwise a melty mess will ensue); top with sautéed dates and maple hazelnuts. Indulge responsibly (i.e., have another piece)!

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Radishes and brownies and beans n’stuff (because those things totally go together…)

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Errrrybody do a happy dance, somehow I’ve actually blogged twice in two weeks! Shocker. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. And I have TWO things for you today! Two completely disparate things, but that’s sort of my jam anyway.

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Also, Buddha says hi!

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Today was a happy food prep day, where all I did was go to yoga, fetched some groceries, and cooked. ALL. DAY. Why can’t I have more days like this? They’re my favorite. Also, I got to play with my food and today it was super colorful, which just brings home the fact that I’m pretty much five years old and obsessed with all things glittery and colorful. Just indulge me, I’m just sure it’s one of things you love about me…

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ALL THE COLOR!!! I love food.

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Who says adults can’t play with their food?

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SO! Dessert and veggies. Two of my favorite things. AND both things are allergen-free, meaning no almonds, coconuts, any of that business (this is interesting, by the way…. not eating all the things I did before is encouraging my creativity). But I’m not feeling deprived (yet. Kinda want some bread up in here), especially because I have these SUPER BOMB brownies in my life. I mean, I’ve made plenty black bean brownies before… but these are my favorite! Completely made of whole foods, vegan, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free… and they come together in about three seconds in the food processor. Which is basically a win-win in my book. Mmmm. Brownies. I will never ever ever stop loving them.

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And for the veg portion of things, we have crispy roasted radishes! I love radishes raw or cooked, but lately more on the cooked side of things. These get all creamy like a potato since they have a high water content… AND you can use the greens and roast those alongside the radishes, leaving you with some radish green-chips! Sort of like kale chips but way more sassy.

From this…

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To this! Must be magic…

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And with that, I leave you with some colorful food and deliciousness.

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Maple Black Bean Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, vegan! Also free of nuts, coconut, and soy. Make sure your chocolate chips are soy free if that’s an issue for you (I like Guittard extra dark, they are soy free and dairy free!). Super fudgy, chocolatey brownies. Don’t worry about the avocado, you won’t taste it! I prefer these cold, straight out of the fridge. Recipe gratefully adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water; let sit for at least five minutes)
  • 1 15oz can of black beans (mine are very lightly salted), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 ripe, medium avocado
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (dairy free/soy free if needed)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In the food processor, combine flax egg, black beans, avocado, maple, vanilla, and avocado oil. Let it run until combined — I don’t think you especially want whole beans in your brownies… Once everything is smooth, toss in cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Pulse to combine. The batter will be nice and thick. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top out with a spatula prior to getting them into the oven. Bake for 27-29 minutes—mine were perfect at 28. The top should be slightly firm, but not hard. Let them cool completely in the pan, then store leftovers in the fridge for a few days (if they even last that long).

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Crispy Roasted Radishes

These are spectacularly creamy and satisfying. The pepperiness of radishes is muted a little, and the texture almost reminds me of potatoes. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan. This is really a recipe suggestion — I left mine simple with just salt and pepper, but go nuts! All kinds of different herbs would be delicious on these. I roast the greens with the radishes as well for a crispy, chip-like complement.

  • 3 bunches of radishes, tipped and separated from their greens; halved
  • radish greens, stems removed
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • a few good grinds of pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a smallish sheet pan.

Place halved radishes on the baking sheet, and top with salt and pepper and any other desired spices / herbs. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then use your hands (or a spoon, I guess…. but trust me, it is way more fun with your hands) to toss the radishes around and distribute the oil evenly.

Roast for 10 minutes, then add radish greens. Continue roasting for 30 – 35 more minutes, until the radishes are browned and crispy. Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Sunday!

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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