2015 Garden in Review

2015 Garden in Review

With 2015 wrapped up and tucked away, I thought I’d share some photos of my garden, lessons I learned along the way, and the dreams bouncing around in my head for this coming year. When I started building raised beds last spring, I thought to myself… This is going to be my first real garden. It’s going to be neat and tidy, and I’ll be organized, and all the little plants will line up in a row and I’ll have time to cook a delicious, home grown meal every night. Yeah, right. What actually ended up happening: I had home grown plants (they grew everywhere, bunched up in the corners and some of them falling over on top of themselves….. not in neat little rows) and I ate home grown food. Not a fully cooked meal every night though. Usually, it was just munching on cherry tomatoes from the vine when I was frantically running around with a watering can, trying to make it to work on time. I learned 3 very important lessons from last year’s garden: 1. There’s no such thing as a real garden. All gardens are real. Put some herbs in a pot on your porch – that’s a garden. Plant arugula seeds near the fencing in your yard – that’s a garden. Grow microgreens and you have a garden. I won’t fool myself anymore into thinking that I need to have a designated space for growing. It’s certainly nice, and slightly easier to keep weeded. But completely unnecessary. Any amount of growing your own food is now in my mind a real garden. 2....
Miso Glazed Eggplant & Why I’m Leaving Facebook

Miso Glazed Eggplant & Why I’m Leaving Facebook

I’m sneaking this next recipe in.. just before it starts to really cool down. I think it kind of should have by now, considering that we’re halfway through November. But hey, you certainly won’t find me complaining about the long days of sunshine and warmth. I found these tiny Fairy Tale Eggplants just the other day, and I had to buy them because they were so cute. I really can’t help it. When food is miniature, I fall instantly in love and want to buy eat, eat it and hold it in my hand forever all at once. Eating it usually wins in the end. I decided they should be roasted, with a miso-tahini glaze. Sweet, salty, umami, creamy goodness. Spruced up by some lovely green onions and sesame seeds. Ingredients: 6-8 Fairy tale eggplants, or 2 medium Japanese eggplants 2 Tbsp Miso 3 Tbsp Tahini 2 tsp Mirin A sprinkling of Sea Salt A sprinkling of brown sugar Sesame seeds, black and/or white for garnish Green onions, bias sliced for garnish Directions: 1. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Peel if desired. Score the cut half lightly with a knife. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit, scored side up for about 20-30 minutes. 2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Wipe salt and any liquid accumulation off of the eggplants. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 15-30 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of your eggplants. Bake until they are nicely softened, but watch closely so they don’t burn. 3. While the eggplants are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk...
Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Halloween may be over, but there’s still plenty of time left this fall and winter to enjoy this warming treat. Pumpkin is full of fiber, healthy carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A & K. This is a dessert that can also be disguised as a breakfast or snack. And. It takes about 5 minutes to make. And. It tastes like a pumpkin-pie in a jar. Creamy, seasonal, with a hint of chocolate. Now, please excuse me while I go lick the jar! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and paleo. Ingredients: 1 cup pumpkin puree 1/4 – 1/2 cup almond milk 3 Tbsp chia seeds 1 dash sea salt 1 dash cinnamon, optional 2 Tbsp maple syrup, add more to taste if desired Toasted coconut flakes and cacao nibs for garnish Directions: 1. Whisk all ingredients together and chill in fridge for 2-3 hours. 2. Remove from fridge and top with coconut and cacao. Enjoy every bite. Soundtrack: Witchcraft by Bill Evans....
Roasted Cauliflower Steak. Romesco Sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower Steak. Romesco Sauce.

As I type these words, summer is almost gone. There’s a new, brisk morning air when I get up at 5 am for work. This past week I’ve been unprepared for the chilly mornings and feel like I’m floundering for some fall inspiration. I’m not ready to let go, I guess… It’s been a spectacular summer! I grew a backyard full of vegetables, went on hikes with friends (and ate my vegetables on said hikes), bought my first house (say whaaaaaaat?!?!), and practically wore my sundresses threadbare. I kept my toenails painted silver, taught all kinds of great classes – DIY Oil & Vinegar Infusions, All Things Peachy, Summertime Detox, and Weeknight Indian. It’s been action-packed, to say the least. I’m hoping fall brings many meals in my new home with friends.. wine and chocolate nights, wine and vegan cheese nights, and soup galore. Because soup. And cozy couches with warm blankets. Fireplaces and settling in. Creating my home. Evenings spent planning my garden. In my new home, you guys. I can do whatever I want! What should I grow? What should my first meal be in my new home? This dish just appeared in my mind a while ago, and I felt compelled to bring it to life. Somehow, it looks pretty much exactly as I’d imagined, and tastes even better. Indeed, it warmed my kitchen and my belly. Cauliflower steaks provide an elegant presentation for a humble vegetable. Cauliflower takes center stage and hold it’s own, hands down. I gave the plate a dash of cilantro infused oil and a sprinkle of microgreens. If you’ve never made...
Back to School Breakfast Bars

Back to School Breakfast Bars

With my cherry tomatoes just starting to blush red, it seems so strange to be talking about “Back to School…” But as always, summer just slips through my fingers. I’m not entirely sure how we’ve ended up in August already, with farmers markets bursting, my garden overflowing and sunshine kissing my shoulders dawn to dusk. I try and pack in as many “summer” moments as possible… maybe that’s how I lose track of time?? Either way, I plan on enjoying every last ounce of the outdoors I can absorb, every last Palisade peach I can sink my teeth into, and every last heirloom tomato blushing into a beautiful, delicacy. Soon to be on my plate. Tomato, meet basil. Meet balsamic. Caprese, meet my mouth. On these hot, early mornings, you can find me on the front porch, drinking green tea and nibbling on something filling, yet light. These bars make lovely teacup companions – they hold together well, and are perfect with a smear of strawberry jam and a sprinkle of toasted almond slivers. A tea-sipping queen somewhere would be proud of me. Simple breakfasts nibbled on in the sunshine. It’s these sweet moments that I remember so fondly about summer. In a few months, when the sun hasn’t yet hit the horizon and a frosty-feeling is in the air, I’ll bite into a breakfast bar and feel the sunshine on my shoulders, see the hint of red in my strawberry patch, and remember those sunny, lovely mornings on my front porch. These bars are gluten free, plant-based, oil free and hearty! I hope you enjoy whipping together a...
4th of July. Pavlova and Berries. Aquafaba.

4th of July. Pavlova and Berries. Aquafaba.

Fourth of July – a holiday that’s on fire. We light up the grill, we sit around bonfires and watch fireworks and we remember a day, when soldiers fought with loud, smokey firearms for our freedom. And we celebrate – relaxing and staring into the burning embers. Today I’m grateful for all that it means to be an American. Or live in America. Freedom to work where I want, love who I want, celebrate however I want, and of course.. eat how and what and when (and as much!) as I want! This Pavlova recipe will keep you cool after a long, hot afternoon around the BBQ. Plus it fits the required Independence Day color scheme. Light and refreshing and covered in summer berries. Life. Just. Doesn’t. Get. Much. Better. A few weeks ago, this strange ingredient, aquafaba, started to show up on recipes floating around the internet. At first, I ignored them. It seemed a little strange… then my curiosity kicked in. How and why and how on earth is this possible? Not to mention, could it EVER taste good? I was in disbelief. So, I had to try it myself out of sheer curiosity. I decided to make an aquafaba based Pavlova, which is basically a meringue layered with cream and berries. Hello – yum! It’s more traditional of Australia, but those folks from Down Under sure have got there dessert priorities straight. I will say, the aquafaba-based Pavlova came out better than I could have imagined. Not only does it taste like meringue, it has the same texture and none of my guinea pigs could tell...
Five Meals to Take Camping this Summer.

Five Meals to Take Camping this Summer.

If you follow me on Instagram (ps I love you all!), you may remember me disappearing on a four-day camping trip near Moab, Utah. It was glorious for oh so many reasons, including: lack of internet (yes, it’s good for me to unplug sometimes, even if I don’t want to), good company, cozy campfires every night, slot canyons, sunshine and mountain trails. Oh, and did I mention amazing food?! I want to share with you how easy and simple it can be to pack delicious meals for your next outdoor adventure. Bring a small cooler, and pack the bottom with some dry ice – Why dry ice? It’s relatively inexpensive and it sumblimes (That’s a science word for “evaporates” – so you won’t end up with a swimming pool in your cooler (Not that I speak from experience or anything….). Plus, dry ice is awesome. Just be sure to keep plenty of padding between the ice and your veggies – otherwise they will freeze…. Five Easy Meals to take Camping this Summer 1. Oatmeal (And don’t forget the instant coffee, please). You can buy premade packets of quick-cooking oats in a variety of flavors, or you can buy plain oats, and add in your own favorite toppings. Oatmeal for breakfast = boil water, pour and stir. Voila! Breakfast. We topped our oats with trailmix and dried blueberries. Now that’s called winning at breakfast. 2. Sushi – Why not eat gourmet food on shower-less day #4 in the dessert? Prepare your favorite sushi rolls at home, but don’t slice them. Wrap each roll in seran wrap and then eat them...
Avocado & Parsley Salad Recipe

Avocado & Parsley Salad Recipe

Confession: I’m madly, deeply in love with avocados. In fact, I’m so in love with them that maybe someday, inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Ode to an Artichoke, I can see myself drafting an Ode to Avo. Sooooomeday…Maybe. Or… maybe not. In the meantime, I’ll just keep putting them on everything in site. Today, I felt like cutting differently. I halved, peeled, pitted and punched out avocado pieces with a cookie cutter. And then, I fell even more deeply in love the soft gradient of green to yellow that appeared on these mini circles. Because, some days after cutting, stabbing out the pit, slicing, smashing with a fork, stirring and more smashing, I forget about how delicate avocados can appear. I try to stay consistent with the food I cook most days… I like oats for breakfast when it’s cold out, smoothies for a snack if the sun is shining, and I try to pack a salad every day for my lunch at work. But on the days when I’m cooking at home, I like to get a little lost in it – and slice and dice things my way, however the mood happens to strike. This creativity can get buried in my daily survival food – aka: meals I make everyday to get through the week. Don’t get me wrong, they taste delicious, but when I think about cooking, I think about creating, about having fun with it. Some days that could be a three-course meal for my friends, made with whatever happens to be in the fridge, and some days, it’s just as simple as taking a cookie...
Midnight Sin Chocolate Torte. Cherry Sauce.

Midnight Sin Chocolate Torte. Cherry Sauce.

Exactly as moody, sultry and decadent as the name implies. Just looking at the photo makes me crave a deep glass of Malbec, a cozy loveseat with a plethora of cushions and a close friend. The chocolate layer is fudgy and rich, but not overly sweet and the toasted hazelnut crust lends a unique flavor and a nice amount of crisp ‘n crunch to each bite. You could make this torte in a traditional spring-form pan and slice into pie-shapes. I prefer the bite-sized, slightly irregular, geometric shapes as they make for an interesting presentation. Asymmetry is fun to look at, and a nice surprise on the plate. Not to mention – this way I can go back for seconds. And thirds. And… well, a nibble every night on occasion. With summer nights creeping up on us, this chilled torte makes for a satisfying treat that will still leave you with plenty of room to enjoy that glass of red wine on the porch. Midnight Sin Raw Chocolate Torte Recipe Adapted from Angela Liddon’s “Chilled Espresso Chocolate Torte” Ingredients Crust ¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted ¼ cup coconut oil, melted 3 Tbsp maple syrup ¼ tsp sea salt 1 ½ cups oat flour (Or place 1 1/2 cups rolled oats in the food processor until it becomes flour) Filling 1 ½ cups cashews, soaked overnight ¾ cup maple syrup ½ cup coconut oil, melted ⅓ cup black onyx cocoa powder (I use this for it’s dark color, you can sub in any cocoa powder) ⅓ cup chopped dark chocolate, melted 2 tsp pure vanilla extract ½ tsp sea salt Garnish...
Video – Knife Skills: Onion Dice.

Video – Knife Skills: Onion Dice.

Let’s add another ninja knife skill to your repertoire. Be sure to use a sharp knife and watch your fingers. It’s tricky at first, and it will feel strange. But then, with some practice, you will become efficient beyond your wildest dreams. My favorite part of this slice is at the end, when I get to watch all my beautiful little onion dice cascading off my knife. So satisfying. So useful. So fun. Next up – #BAOnionChallenge *BONUS TIP – At the end, you can still chop up the last little bit of onion around the root. Simply lay this piece flat, and dice it up (around the root) in a size that will match the rest of your onion dice. Then, discard the root piece. Voila! No waste....