Cacao Tahini Cookies

This is an adaptation of Kaylie’s brilliant paleo cookie recipe! I love playing around with that one so much - using various nut/seed butters and adding in different things like dried fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate chunks, etc etc. But I particularly love this combination of savory-ish tahini and crunchy cacao nibs!

DSCF2868.jpeg

Ingredients:

1 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup cacao powder

2 pastured eggs

1/2 tsp baking powder

handful of cacao nibs

pinch of sea salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out dough onto the parchment - the dough may be a little runnier than your average cookie dough. I use 2 tbs per cookie for a medium sized cookie - so use less or more depending on your desired size! Bake for 10-12 minutes - keeping a close eye so they don’t burn. Allow to cool completely because they will be very gooey when warm. Enjoy!

P.S. these cookies freeze particularly well and can be eaten straight from the freezer.

DSCF2877.jpeg
DSCF2921.jpeg
DSCF2917.jpeg
DSCF2925.jpeg

Bourbon Mushroom Chicken Liver Pâté

Eating the organs of animals killed predominantly for meat is an age-old practice and one of the most sustainable and health-building foods to add to your diet. If you want to truly consider and honor the animals you choose to eat, I think this is a beautiful way to do it; by using and valuing every part possible. I may not kill and butcher my own chickens (yet), but cooking with high quality chicken meat, organs, and bones has been incredibly beneficial for me the last few years. Quality is of the upmost importance here, I must stress, as it may be the difference between consuming a nutrient-rich, healing food or consuming a toxin-loaded product of factory farming. I am lucky to have access to pasture-raised, organically grown chicken products through local farm deliveries to NYC. I highly suggest you research where to find the highest quality chicken livers. And then you will have something more wonderful than gold in your hands! Do yourself a favor and research the benefits of consuming organ meats and then taste and see for yourself! Stronger energy and immunity, clearer skin, stronger hair, better digestion are a few of the main benefits I have personally experienced when I eat it regularly.

This is my favorite way to consume chicken livers, particularly with the addition of bourbon. A farmer at the Union Square Greenmarket sells a Bourbon Liver Pâté that made me fall in love with pâté, however, it’s quite an expensive product to buy pre-made. So of course I make it myself! This time I also added a truly special product from an instagram friend, Adriana, (& one day a real life friend, I hope!), who wild harvests medicinal mushrooms like reishi and makes decoctions a few times a year. I finally snagged one from her Etsy Shop this time and am enjoying it immensely every morning. It also added an extra rich, earthy note to this pâté! Assuming most of you don’t have such an amazing product on hand, simply omit or replace with your favorite mushroom extract , if applicable. Find the recipe below!

DSCF2953.jpeg
Ingredients:   1 LB pastured organic chicken livers  1/3 cup pastured butter (preferably raw)  2 TBS ghee  1 TBS high-quality bourbon  1 tsp dried herbs of choice (I love thyme and rosemary here)  1 tsp sea salt   Method:   In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium high heat. Add the chicken livers (and any juices from the package) and leave to brown for a minute or two. Then turn them over to brown on the other side. Lower heat and add the herbs, bourbon, and salt and continue to sauté for a few minutes. Once they are mostly cooked through (a little pink in the middle is fine), turn off the heat and move the pan to the side to cool. In a blender or food processor, add the butter and then the livers (once slightly cooled off). Blend until completely smooth. This may take a couple of minutes and you may need to scrape down the sides and continue blending. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days and enjoy on everything from crackers to toast to veggies (or even scooped up with bacon - yes, that’s my suggestion).

Ingredients:

1 LB pastured organic chicken livers

1/3 cup pastured butter (preferably raw)

2 TBS ghee

1 TBS high-quality bourbon

1 tsp dried herbs of choice (I love thyme and rosemary here)

1 tsp sea salt

Method:

In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium high heat. Add the chicken livers (and any juices from the package) and leave to brown for a minute or two. Then turn them over to brown on the other side. Lower heat and add the herbs, bourbon, and salt and continue to sauté for a few minutes. Once they are mostly cooked through (a little pink in the middle is fine), turn off the heat and move the pan to the side to cool. In a blender or food processor, add the butter and then the livers (once slightly cooled off). Blend until completely smooth. This may take a couple of minutes and you may need to scrape down the sides and continue blending. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days and enjoy on everything from crackers to toast to veggies (or even scooped up with bacon - yes, that’s my suggestion).

Healing in the Bones

Healing in the bones
Like the running of the creek
Trickling deep, into memories
Sleeping, dreaming, wide awake
I know what it is to be alive
Not to strive, just - ready, one two,
Jump off the high dive

The crystalline waters await your shining face
It’s all about this moment in time, gathering at this very place
Coming alive together, no time to waste

Nothing like seeing the ones you love
Take a deep breath, a sigh of peace
All is well, our beds have been made
There’s a place beneath the stairs where we played games
Laughter ripples in the air

Colors swimming in my mouth
I speak in bubbles now
But what does it matter
When we now know how
To be seen and to be known

We saw the stars in your eyes
And we cried, we knew you were ours
Holy betrothed, wholly yours to be held as we behold
These days we can’t recall the cold
The warmth renewing what had become old

 

matcha leg4.jpg
full window 3.jpg
matcha leg3.jpg
bed corner foot.jpg

Spiced Tahini Maca Matcha

ingredients:

1 tsp ceremonial grade matcha (like this one or this one)

1 tsp gelatinized maca powder (I used this one, which is where the spice comes from)

1 tsp tahini (this brand is my absolute favorite)

1 tsp raw honey

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (no guar gum)

1 cup hot water (not boiling)

method:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender for 30 seconds.

Pour into your favorite mug and sip slowly with gratitude.

 

matcha zoom2.jpg

Smooth Summer Soups to Soothe

Sweat and heat

Both contain eat

So what shall we make

When the heat we must beat?

Soup, I say!

There's no other way

Simply creamed and chilled

Easy to eat as we lay

Atop the soft Summer ground

After miles of walking around

Tracing the sweet blooms of June

Until the most fragrant is found

So pick some herbs to inspire

Just a pinch, if you desire

To bring the soup lightness

And to lift spirits higher

 This soup is gentle and good

Being just as it should

We'd share with the whole world

If only we could

We'd welcome you with ease

Beneath the shade of the trees

There's a fine and gentle breeze

Stay all day, if you please

Come birds, beasts, and bees!

Creamy Zucchini Dill Soup & Creamy Beet Juniper Soup

These are the perfect, single-serving Summer soups! Of course, you can double, triple, etc. these recipes for more servings. They both rely on bone broth as well as marrow and soft tissue pulled from the bones for rich flavor and creamy texture. But to make vegetarian, simply replace the bone broth with vegetable broth and the marrow/tissue with ripe avocado, which I often do too! If you do use marrow/tissue, the soups will likely become very thick or even gelatinous in the fridge. I don't mind, but again, if you prefer, use avocado! However, I am now a big advocate of bone broth and marrow for their major gut healing qualities! Read this in depth how-to guide to make your own delicious, crazy nutritious bone broth. 

Serves 1

Beet Juniper Ingredients:

1 medium or 2 small golden beets, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

3/4 cup homemade bone broth

3 tablespoons bone marrow and/or soft tissue

1 teaspoon each juniper berries & caraway seeds

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Serves 1

Zucchini Dill Ingredients:

1 large zucchini or summer squash, chopped

3/4 cup homemade bone broth

3 tablespoons bone marrow and/or soft tissue

1 tablespoon fresh dill

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

Method (for both):

1. Place all chopped veggies in a small soup pot. Add bone broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. 

2. Remove from heat and add marrow/tissue, to allow it to soften (omit this step if using avocado).

3. Carefully place all ingredients, including herbs and spices/seeds, in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove any unwanted fibrous bits. 

4. Either serve hot or pour into a container and allow to chill in the fridge, preferably for a few hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Pouring Zucchini_.jpg

Cardamom & Ginger Infused Cashew Butter

Simple. Uncomplicated. Pure. Quiet. Gentle. Cozy. Spice. Creamy. Nourish. Comfort in a jar. On a spoon. That is all I need. And that is all it needs to be. So here it is. 

Cashew butter top_.jpg

Cashew Butter

Makes 8oz

Inspired by some of my favorite ingredients and textures, I made this simply because I wanted to eat it. On everything. And you should too. The tocotrienols are optional but add extra creaminess and are a bioavailable source of vitamins d, e, & b6. Also, I used Divine Organics Raw Indonesian Cashews, which are super fresh and creamy with none of that weird fishy smell some cashews have. No thank you.

Ingredients:

1 heaped cup raw cashews (preferably organic)

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon whole cardamom

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced

optional: 1/4 cup tocotrienols (organic rice bran solubles)

Method:

1. In a small pot, gently heat the coconut oil with the cardamom and ginger slices, just enough to let the coconut oil melt. Remove from heat and allow to sit and infuse as you prepare the other ingredients.

2. In a small upright blender or the smaller bowl of a food processor, add the cashews and blend on high until broken down.

3. Strain the ginger and cardamom from the oil then add the oil and  tocotrienols (if using) to the blender. Continue to blend on high until completely smooth, scraping down the sides when needed.

4. Store in a glass jar in your pantry and enjoy! If you don't plan to use or eat it for a while (for some crazy reason), store in the fridge (however, it will harden some).

Staring Stars & A Christmas Granola

And when the crisp cloak of Winter comes to cover me,

I take a deep breath and let it take over.

And the cold clears all that was cloudy as it cuts with its sharp edge of unapologetic purity.

The chill, unlike anything else we know, but such a friend in its unfriendliness. 

A perfect invitation to change, to release, to receive

The magic of the quiet and calm yet stark and staring stars of the navy blue night sky. 

Follow the kindness of the leading light, shimmering yellow, breathtakingly bright.

A hand outstretched to guide faithfully forth into the mystery of the hope, the peace, the joy

Of a boy, asleep atop a heap of hay. There he lay as a declaration, a proclamation of unashamed, unafraid, unmistakable love.

Let me stay, O winter friend. The cold, no trouble, I can begin to warm by the side of my savior.

And look upon his glorious face. And look upon his glorious face. Staring, like the star, into mine.

 

 

Christmas Granola

Makes 8 cups

This is my ideal holiday/winter/christmas granola and I hope you feel the same. It is generously spiced and flavored with alllll the favorites, perfectly chunky and crispy, sweet but  not too sweet, and surprising with bites of tart cranberry and spicy, chewy ginger. I'm in love! P.S. - all the seeds are interchangeable, if you wish (pumpkin instead of sunflower / brown sesame instead of black).

 

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon orange extract OR 1 tablespoon orange zest

 

Dry ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups puffed millet or other puffed grain

1 cup raw pecans

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons flax seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put all wet ingredients in a small saucepan and gently warm over low heat, whisking or swirling just until the coconut oil is melted. Remove from heat.

3. Combine all dry ingredients except the cranberries and ginger in a large bowl. Stir together, making sure everything is well mixed and coated with the spices. Pour the wet mixture over the dry, making sure to scrape all the oil and sweetener out of the pot, and combine thoroughly.

4. Spread the granola out onto the baking sheet in an even, 1/2 inch thick layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden.

5. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and allow the granola to sit in the oven for an hour or so. This ensures a perfectly clumpy, crispy granola! Remove from oven, break into pieces, add the dried cranberries and chopped candied ginger, and enjoy!

DryIngredientsCHRISTMASGRANOLA.jpg
CHRISTMASGRANOLAbigchunk.jpg

The Old and The New (Muffins and Hummus)

I have always liked to remember. To recall the where and when and what of the same day or month from years and years ago. Although for me it doesn't often feel like recalling because most memories still feel so close. Yes, I'm young and haven't lived very long comparatively, so my furthest memories are still somewhat recent. I can't say, 'Oh wow that was 30 years ago', quite yet. But there's something that makes it easy for me to feel like I'm still fourteen, sitting in my room and listening to Sigur Ros for hours instead of making friends. Or mindlessly knitting scarves while my family watched Sunday football. Or biking Natchez Trace in Nashville every October. Or eating english muffins with honey before school. Or stressing over essays that felt like they drained every bit of my creativity. 

But, then I look at where I am and I realize in an instant how much time has passed. How vastly different everything is. It freaks me out for a minute and then I remember how amazing it actually is. That I'm growing up and living a life I couldn't have predicted and still can't. That I am doing things I dreamt about, or didn't dream about but am happy about them nonetheless. That I've made it through some incredibly difficult times and now I'm certain I'll keep making it through anything, with more and more glory to show for it, thanks to Jesus. And that I see now that I don't have to completely let go of or forget the things that used to mean so much to me because the human heart has a huge capacity for love. And I do feel my heart just keeps growing and growing and, my God, I hope it doesn't stop, because I think this is only the beginning. 

Nostalgia has always been my thing. And for a while, it wasn't very healthy for me. Spending time dwelling in the past is rarely good. But now I feel I'm able to look back and just be thankful. Yes, sometimes with a little tinge of sadness or longing, but mostly thankfulness. It's funny, I wasn't thinking about Thanksgiving before I began writing this, but I guess it is just that time of year. The sights and smells of the colder seasons bring that on for me. So lately, I think my goal is to keep looking forward, with all my memories, all my childhood hopes and beliefs, all my heart and its messy history propelling me forward. Into what's new and unknown, yet soon to be part of me. I mean, I never thought New York City would be part of me, or food blogging, or even cooking in general, or herbalism, or talking to strangers, or tattoos (ha!). And yet, here I am. And where shall I go? Well, that I don't often know. But the seasons keep turning and the leaves keep bursting into furious colors. And then they fall, in surrender, to melt back into the earth, and then grow all over again, new and bright green. Don't we kind of do the same, if we're doing this life thing right? 

Within these two recipes is all of this....the nostalgia of perfectly Fall-ish flavors like squash and sweet potatoes with warm spices, and then the unknown of something new but soon to be a staple, like the beautiful heirloom beans, striped purple and black. Comfort in the creamy and crumbly, the toasty and crisped. Yet, excitement in the unidentifiable flavors and textures. Sounds like that leftover Thanksgiving dinner sandwich most people make on Friday...which I've actually never had before. Maybe this year will be my first.

SquashHalf.jpg
*This post is not sponsored. But I highly recommend Rancho Gordo for all your heirloom bean needs!

*This post is not sponsored. But I highly recommend Rancho Gordo for all your heirloom bean needs!

 

Roasted Squash Hummus

Makes 2 cups

This hummus is so creamy thanks to both the soft squash and the type of beans I used, which I really recommend seeking out, even aside from making this hummus. Rio Zape beans are of the pinto bean family and are incredibly creamy with notes of chocolate and coffee. They are a true treat. I found them to be a perfect match for the squash, which is sweet and well, pumpkin-y. Thus, this hummus is full of intriguing flavors. Best enjoyed with your favorite crackers.

Ingredients:

1 cup squash purée*

2 cups cooked beans (I used an heirloom pinto bean, but any work!)

1 tablespoon organic miso (I used barley miso, which has a nice richness)

2 tablespoons tahini

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice

Notes:

To make squash purée, take any large squash (I used kabocha, which is a sweet Japanese pumpkin) and cut it in half. Rub the flesh with a little oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. You want it to be browning on the edges and the outside skin to be wrinkly. Allow to cool, then spoon out the flesh (sorry, is there a better word?!), discarding the seeds,  and purée it in a food processor, or other blender, until smooth.

Method:

1. Simply combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Keep in the refrigerator and enjoy within 1 week!


SweetPotatoMuffinsFinalclose.jpg
SweetPotatoMuffinsbroken2.jpg

 

Sweet Potato Cranberry Muffins

Makes 12 small muffins

These muffins are a lovely little fall treat, without being too sweet. In fact, aside from the molasses, they are unsweetened. I find most muffins to be more like a cupcake without the icing. So I often like to leave out the sweetener when I make muffins at home. That way they are truly fit for breakfast....slathered with some ghee or almond butter, please! I also like how adaptable they are. Feel free to add in some pecans or walnuts, or an extra dash of ginger. And if you do prefer a sweeter muffin, you can add 1/3 cup of any liquid sweetener (maple/honey) to the wet mixture and reduce the plant milk to 1/4 cup. 

Dry ingredients:

2 cups whole grain flour (sprouted spelt is my favorite, use oat for gf version)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon each cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and ginger

1/3 cup dried cranberries (preferably apple juice sweetened)

 

Wet ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato purée*

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil

½ cup plant milk

2 tablespoons molasses

2 flax eggs*

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Notes:

To make sweet potato purée: In a steamer basket set over boiling water, steam a diced medium sized sweet potato (I used Japanese) for 8 minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted.  Allow to cool and then thoroughly mash with a fork or gently pulse in a food processor.

To make flax eggs: Combine 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water. Stir and then allow to thicken for about 10 minutes.

 

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with non-bleached liners or grease with coconut oil.

2.     Sift all dry ingredients except cranberries into a large bowl.

3.     In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

4.     Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, adding the cranberries as you go, being careful not to overwork the batter.

5.     Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tin. Bake on a middle rack for 40 minutes, checking a few minutes before to avoid burning.

6.     Allow to cool before removing the muffins from the tin. They can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days, or longer in the fridge!

Little Fig Smoothie with Rose, Cardamom, and Tahini

There are too many words I'd like to write in regards to the divinely delicious, fascinating, wise, and ancient fig. It is my favorite fruit, possibly my favorite species. I dream of writing an entire book dedicated to its heritage and history with countless cultures and cuisines. That is what this simple little smoothie is inspired by but also why I don't feel led to write much for this particular recipe.

The grandeur of the fig is somewhat removed in this smoothie, which hides all the ingredients in one creamy consistency. But, I do feel it is a compilation of many of the flavors I know the fig loves to be married with. And in that case, it feels right. Plus, it is a wonderfully tasty and nourishing treat...lusciously light yet deep with exotic flavor, silky smooth yet with a necessary crunch from added toppings. Rose builds upon the romance of the fig and brings the heart into harmony. The tahini thickens and brings an essential nuttiness and also makes this a calcium powerhouse (figs and sesame are both very high in calcium). The cardamom offers the perfect warmth to an end of summer, start of autumn treat.

But one day,  one day! I will write more. Much more. For the fig deserves it. Until then, I will keep letting it speak to me and impart all of its beautiful wisdom and knowledge from all the years it has seen and all the hands that have touched it.

 

Fig Smoothie with Rose, Cardamom, and Tahini

Serves 1

Ingredients:

5 fresh or frozen figs (I used fresh figs I had recently frozen)

1/4 cup nut milk (walnut, pistachio, or almond preferred)

1/4 cup rose tea (I used Organic India's Tulsi Rose)

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon rosewater

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings (optional):

dried mulberries, dried rose petals, pistachios

 

Method: 

Blend all ingredients together in an upright blender until smooth! Top with optional toppings and enjoy with thoughtfulness and gratitude. 

Blue(berry) Lagoon (or how to glow like a mermaid from the inside out)

Splish splosh splash with my shimmering mermaid tail

I move swiftly through smooth blue waters that reflect off the pale

Edges of my childish face, shapes shifting in the tangerine sunlight

Glimmering like september sapphires, the cruel crocodile bite

Didn't hurt at all, in fact, I just shook my finger at him

And told him sternly with mean eyes to swim

Away, away!

Into the murky depths, squishy with sea moss 

Crawling with candy-colored creatures cross

Because we splashed a little too much

But we reconcile over a green and blue seaweed lunch

That's what keeps our tails aglow with hues

Mysteriously opaque yet bright like stars in the night

Dive off the rock back down down down

Twisting and turning elegantly around

They say not to swim just after you eat

But what else can you do when you don't have feet

 

 

*Recipe and poem directly inspired by the Mermaid Lagoon from Peter Pan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp65oAmnG7c

*Also likely inspired by simultaneously listening to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQTgoQdtxvg

 

Blueberry Lagoon Pudding

Serves 1

With summer's sweet little blueberries, creamy dreamy white coconut butter, seductively dark black tahini, and sea-greeny-blue chlorella, this pudding is sure to make you feel like a strange, tropical creature of some sort...my preference clearly being a mermaid. Take your pick though! And in reality (whatever that is), this pudding is supercharged with hydrating, nourishing, cleansing, and energizing nutrients that do actually bring that sparkle to your cells, so eat up!

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/3 cup filtered water

1 tablespoon coconut butter

1 tablespoon black sesame seed butter

1 teaspoon chlorella powder (less  if you prefer not to taste it)

2 medjool dates (or more, to taste)

a sprinkle of dried coconut flakes and black sesame seeds for topping

 

Method:

1.     Combine all ingredients in a blender (preferable a single serving size to blend most effectively).

2.     Sprinkle with toppings and enjoy while watching/listening to the links below and awaiting your magical transformation! 

BlueLagoonSpoon3.jpg

Winter's Awakening

winterwindow2.jpg

Winter winds present the true meaning of cold; that deeply chilling force that seems to have been released from some underground place, where it was storing up strength all Spring and Summer long. Sometimes it feels cruel, the bitter cold blasting an uncovered face or momentarily exposed hands. But other times it feels like a close friend come to greet me again and remind me of parts of myself that were a bit lost in the busier, warm months. The cozy, quiet, still and dark of Winter is what I wait all year for. That excuse to do what I love, which is stay home with piles of books and films and cup after cup of hot tea. And then occasionally wander outside to gaze at the brilliantly icy blue sky or stand beneath snowflakes falling infinitely from a ceiling of white above.

For many people, (post holiday) Winter feels like a season of inactivity, of boredom, of weariness and even dread. In truth, even I have experienced a little too much quiet during past winters, where I wasn’t quite sure about life and how it was engaging me. But this year, I’m finding it to be the perfect time to dig deeper into purposes and dreams and to attend to the transformations that I feel are trying to take place. I think there is a mystery and magic that rides in on such pure cold waves of January, February, and into March. I try to listen to what is being whispered, what is shifting, what is becoming more clear and defined in these uncluttered days and weeks of shivering and seeking warmth. When basic needs are more obvious, there is less availability to be frivolous and flighty. There is more definition, more restriction, more limitation. Yet, I think in that there is also opportunity to see more severely and more starkly what needs to be changed, to be altered, to be allowed to transform.

I see visions of swirling and whirring snowy winds grabbing at the needless and even ugly things in me and taking them up up and away into the dark night to be gone forever. To be overcome by the powerful icy chill so that what is left in the Spring, after the defrosting and the melting, the unfolding and flowering, is only the best, purest, prettiest. My aim this Winter is to let the cold strip away anything and everything that is not me. To abandon what I have unnecessarily collected over time, to release what I have wrongly held onto, to claim freedom from that which has held me against my will.

What may sound like an intense and heavy aim is rightly set against Winter’s quiet, still, peaceful landscapes. It is pondered and prayed over amongst those piles of books and films and cups overflowing with tea. It is settled over nourishing meals, full of comforting spices and balancing flavors. I love simple moments of warming up with a bowl of sustenance while idly staring out the window into Winter’s abyss. Something shifts inside as you listen to the call to better care for and protect yourself. I think that is what Winter wishes to be, an opportunity for recollection, clarity, definition, and purification. Despite that seemingly cruel wind, there is great kindness to be found. A great love settling upon us amidst the majestic snow. Wild and yet gentle. Fierce and yet calm.

 

 

 

Maple Roasted Pears with Buckwheat, Hazelnut, Cacao Sprinkle

Serves 3-4

Pears, in my opinion, become 100% more delicious when cooked and combined with other sweet flavors such as maple and chocolate. Here I have created a simple, versatile recipe that accentuates the juicy sweetness of pears while not overwhelming them with other ingredients. It can be enjoyed as a dessert, but would also make a lovely breakfast with some warmed nutmilk poured over.
pearsprinklefinal2.jpg

 

Pear ingredients:

3 small pears, halved and cored

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple butter or syrup

 

Sprinkle ingredients:

½ cup oat flour (or other whole grain flour)

½ cup chopped hazelnuts

¼ cup cacao nibs

4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

4 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon each cardamom, nutmeg, and sea salt

 

 

 

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2.     Gently melt the coconut oil in a pan over low heat (or place in the oven for a few minutes). Combine all other sprinkle ingredients in a medium bowl and then add the oil. Spread into a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.

3.     With clean hands, gently rub the halved and cored pears with the oil and maple. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 35 minutes, until juicy and caramelized.

4.     Once the pears and sprinkle are done, allow to cool slightly on stovetop. To serve, spoon the sprinkle into the pear cores and around and all over! Drizzle any excess liquid onto the pears as well and enjoy!

 

 

 

Warm Sesame Daikon, Adzuki Bean, Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves 4-5

I find this to be a really tasty, balanced salad that makes a perfectly satisfying meal when served with some brown rice and an extra dash of shoyu! It is nutty with plenty of umami flavor and is a nice change from the common soups and stews of these colder months.

Bean ingredients:

1 cup adzuki beans, soaked in 3 cups filtered water overnight

2 cups filtered water

½ teaspoon salt

1 small piece kombu seaweed*

1 tablespoon untoasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 teaspoon shoyu

1 teaspoon mirin

 

Salad ingredients:

2 small daikon radishes, cut into matchsticks*

1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, ¼ inch slice

2 tablepoons brown rice vinegar

1 tablespoon untoasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon mild miso paste (such as sweet white)

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon shoyu or tamari

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch of dulse flakes

 

Bean Method:

1.     Drain soaked adzuki beans and place in a medium pot with water and salt over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or until soft. Drain cooked beans and discard cooking liquid or save for other recipes (such as soup).

2.     Place cooked beans in a bowl and toss together with remaining ingredients. Allow to marinate in an airtight container in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

3.     Heat untoasted sesame oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add daikon and Brussels sprouts and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Lower heat and add in vinegar, toasted sesame oil, miso, ginger, shoyu, and garlic and continue to cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add in the marinated beans and cook until warmed through.

4.     To serve, sprinkle with dulse flakes and enjoy!

*Note 1: To cut daikon into matchsticks, slice thinly at a diagonal, then stack the ovals and slice thinly, lengthwise.

*Note 2: Kombu is a seaweed that is used in stocks and broths as well as in cooking legumes to help neutralize phytic acid and also add valuable nutrients. It is optional!


 

Soft Polenta with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Rosemary Mustard Roasted Roots

Serves 4-5

This recipe was prompted by an adorable little jar of black trumpet mushrooms gifted to me by a dear friend over Christmas. I then instantly thought of a polenta napolean dish that my class at the Natural Gourmet Institute created for our final dinner, which we topped with sauteed black trumpet mushrooms. It was my first time trying them and I knew it wouldn't be my last! I loved the pairing of the mushrooms and polenta, so here you go...
polenta1.jpg

 

 

Polenta ingredients:

1 cup polenta

3 cups filtered water

1 cup mushroom soaking liquid (see below)

1 tsp sea salt


Mushroom ingredients:

1/3 cup dried black trumpet mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup filtered water for 10 minutes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

 

 

Roasted root ingredients:

2 handfuls purple fingerling potatoes (about 1 ½ cups), halved or quarted depending on size

1 medium scarlet turnip, ½ inch dice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

½ teaspoon garlic powder

 

 

 

Polenta method:

1.     For the polenta, combine polenta, 2 cups of the filtered water, and salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Lower heat and stir fairly constantly for about 30 minutes, adding the 3rd cup of water little by little. You want the polenta to be very soft and creamy -- not too loose and not too chewy.

2.     For the roots, preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Toss the potatoes and turnips together with the olive oil, rosemary, and garlic powder. On a parchment lined baking sheet or in cast iron skillet (as pictured), roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, add mustard, toss with a spatula, and return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, until crispy.

3.     For the mushrooms, drain the them, reserving the soaking liquid. Heat the oil in a small sautée pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sautée for just a couple of minutes before adding garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

4.     To serve, top polenta with roasted roots and mushrooms and enjoy!

 

*Note: If you need to reheat the polenta, add the reserved mushroom liquid as needed, for a bit of extra flavor!

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Creamy Hummus with Za’atar Roasted Vegetable Sticks

Serves 5-6

Although I enjoy pretty much all variations of hummus, I love those that are super creamy and lack that starchy, slightly gritty texture. The key here is to peel the outer skin off the chickpeas once cooked. Yes, this is a bit time consuming and tedious and not totally necessary, but it does help achieve that lusciousness I love. Soaking them overnight with a little baking soda shortens the cooking time and softens the skin as well. Feel free to add more garlic or lemon or even throw in a pinch of cumin, coriander, paprika, or cayenne! So many possibilities.
As for the vegetable sticks, they are just one way to enjoy this classic middle eastern dip. But I love 'em as a change from crackers or pita bread. Although not much beats warm pita bread with creamy hummus. But I have yet to try my hand at pita bread... One day.

Hummus ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in 3 cups filtered water + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups filtered water

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 small piece kombu seaweed (optional)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons tahini (preferably toasted)

4 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons sea salt

juice of 1 lemon

 

Vegetable Stick ingredients:

2 medium carrots

1 large parsley root

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon za’atar spice blend (usually thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, salt...)

 

Hummus&processor.jpg

Hummus method:

1.     Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas. Place in a medium pot with water, salt, and kombu and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until very soft.

2. Meanwhile place the garlic cloves with their skin on in a small pan and heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and heat for a couple minutes more, until fragrant. Once cooled, the cloves should slide out of their skins easily.

2.     Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid. Once cooled, slip off the chickpea skins with your fingers (yes, one by one, if you have the patience!). Combine all ingredients, including the peeled garlic, in a food processor along with ½ cup cooking liquid and blend on high for about 5 minutes, or until super smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Vegetable Stick method:

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.      Slice carrots and parsley root into small wedges (halving and slicing lengthwise). Toss with olive oil and za’atar on baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, until browning.

Hummus&veggiesSmallBowl1.jpg

Majesty, Miracles, Challenges, & Cheer! (And All the Winter Vegetables At The Market Appear)

Oh Christmas time! There is no other season with such fullness of feelings upon feelings. I imagine my insides to look like a classically trimmed Christmas tree right now. Listening to carols all day, watching favorite films with all the perfect snowy scenes, coming home at night and flicking on many colorful lights and burning fir-scented candles. Tea swimming with notes of spices and cocoa, peppermint and caramel. And the real versions of those delights as well. My heart swells when I hear Bing’s thrilling “Happy Holidays” intro, Judy's ever-comforting melody, or Sufjan’s glorious “Star of Wonder”. I dream of Christmas feasts in Hogwart’s Great Hall and of carol singing with Marmee and the March girls. And of course, I also beam with the joys of traipsing the dirty but festive streets of NYC and thoughts of soon heading home to Nashville to celebrate in full with family and old friends. Nothing beats this time of year.

I think the magic of the season is generally embraced by most. There is an undeniable spirit of hope, peace, and joy even before all the presents are piled. And I personally find it incredibly easy to be overcome by the Christmas spirit, year after year. That is largely because my joy, hope, and peace of the season are founded in celebration of the birth of my savior, Jesus. And actually, my belief is that the widely noted ‘Christmas Spirit’ is really just the truth of Jesus’ arrival being felt, even amongst those who don’t believe. But, that is because I believe :)

Yet, this year I have encountered a challenge, a pull, that at different times both lessens and greatens my Christmas-y feelings. It has been a year of tremendous growth and unfolding truths for me, resulting in emotional healing and greater desire and pursuit of physical healing, as I mentioned in my ‘About Me’. I shall be frank and reveal that I am seeking physical healing solely through my faith, through my Jesus, after years of searching in the health and wellness world. I believe that He will heal me completely and so my challenge has been to focus on His goodness, His glory while also feeling the very real struggle of dysfunctional health. That has essentially been the challenge of this whole season of life for me. And when Christmastime arrived, I actually began to feel it easier to celebrate Him and experience His light, even while not feeling well, because I just love Christmas so much.

But then there have been moments or days when the struggle has darkened my view and then I quickly become even more discouraged because I feel that I’m missing out on the joy of Christmas. And so I simply try to lay down my fears and frustrations and focus focus focus on His glory and His light. It is a cycle, a very real internal battle. Yet, I can’t express how utterly plain (but beautiful) and simple the truth has become to me.

I have always felt the preciousness of Jesus’ birth taking place in a dark, damp, probably very uncomfortable, smelly setting. And yet, it was the greatest, most glorious thing to happen in the universe. The ever-perfect analogy for how we can celebrate ‘God with us’ in a cold and otherwise quiet, slow season. I believe that is a truth that will always resonate with humankind because the contrast of darkness and light is life on earth simply put.

But realer than real it is becoming to me, as I feel a literal ache in my stomach and yet choose to gaze upon the One whom I believe is great and worthy of all my attention and praise. It’s not an easy choice, but as soon as I stop focusing on myself, I feel lighter, more peaceful, more triumphant, because He is with me. He is with us. That is Christmas, is it not?

All right…If you’ve made it this far, props to you because I clearly haven’t even mentioned food. But, behold! I bring you many recipes of great foods. And I hope you can enjoy them with loved ones as you cozy up and celebrate the light of life, whatever that may be to you. And if you love food as I do, yet also have health struggles, always, always feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you.

Love to all, Merry, merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! 

 

 

Beet and Sunchoke Tower with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Serves 2

I could eat a variation of these 3 vegetables every day and not tire of them for a long, long time. They are some of my very favorites. I may be a tad biased, but I think this is a lovely way to enjoy them. Simple and whole, yet festive and fun. And the sauce is delicious on a multitude of things: drizzled over grain + veggie bowls, savory porridge, or soup! 

Ingredients for the stack:

1 large beetroot, ¼ inch slice

1 large sunchoke, ¼ inch slice

1 sprig rosemary

pinch sea salt

pinch fresh ground black pepper

 

Ingredients for the Brussels sprouts:

large handful of sprouts (about ½ cup), trimmed and leaves peeled

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

pinch sea salt

pinch fresh ground black pepper

 

Ingredients for the sauce:

1 cup thick plant milk (cashew, almond, hemp, soy)

3 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish

1 head garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon arrowroot

big pinch sea salt

big pinch fresh ground black pepper

 

 

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the top off of the head of garlic and wrap in parchment and then in aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

2.     Combine sliced beets and sunchokes on a large piece of parchment paper, containing the slices to one side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with rosemary spring. Fold parchment over and pinch the edges to seal, like a package. Roast in the oven along with the garlic for 25 minutes.

3.     Toss the sprout leaves with oil and salt and pepper and roast in the oven until crispy, about 10 minutes.

4.     When the garlic is done, unwrap it and allow to cool. When it is cool enough to handle, you can simply squeeze the softened garlic out of the skin. At this point, gently heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and then add the garlic as well as all remaining sauce ingredients. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, making sure the garlic is blending into the mixture. Remove from heat when the sauce is slightly thickened.

5.     To serve, alternate the beet and sunchoke slices to form a couple of stacks. Sprinkle the sprout leaves and drizzle (or douse) the sauce over the towers. Enjoy!

 

 

Caramelized Onion and Apple Scuffins

Makes 6 large muffin scuffins

So, I set out to make some crumble, dense savory scones. But that is quite hard to do when not using butter or eggs, as I usually don't. Thus, I ended up with some muffin-top-like scones, which I actually really enjoyed. And so I kept them that way, and called them scuffins.

Dry ingredients:

1 cup whole spelt flour

2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

Small pinch each of nutmeg, allspice, coriander

 

Wet ingredients:

¼ cup plant milk

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed allowed to sit with 3 tablespoons water)

4 tablespoons solid virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

 

Onion ingredients:

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

 

Apple ingredients:

1 medium apple, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (thyme rosemary, sage)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

 

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.     Heat the oil for the onion in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 20 minutes, until sweet and light brown (not burnt).

3.     At the same time in another sauté pan, heat the oil for the apples and sauté the slices over medium heat until softened. In the last few minutes of sautéing, add the minced herbs. Remove both pans from heat.

4.     Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients except the oil. Add the oil to the dry mixture in small chunks and combine with a whisk, cutting the oil into the flour until a crumbly texture forms. Add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

5.     Add the onion and apple to the mixture, saving a few pieces of onion and apple for the tops, and gently fold the ingredients together.

6.     Roll out the dough on the parchment paper, forming a ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut with a flour-dusted knife into long triangles. Top with the reserved apple and onion pieces and place in the oven for 6 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

7.     Serve warm and enjoy! Remaining muffin scones can be stored in an airtight container for two days.

 

Rosemary Rutabaga and Parsley Root Mash

Serves 2-3

This recipe is inspired by the first meal I had upon arrival at the Umbrian farm I worked at a few years ago. My host served me a lovely meal of mashed potatoes, simply steamed and creamed with salt, along with steamed romanesco (my first time trying what would immediately become a favorite veg), as well as bread and plenty of their own grown and pressed olive oil. It was simple, rustic, divine. And my heart still hurts to think of that beautiful green oil and how nothing I've tried since can compare. Thankfully though, the vegetables here in the states are not too different from that of Italy, and so I gathered these ingredients in hopes of recreating a memory. I used the rutabaga and parsley root here simply because they jumped out at me at the market. And there is no recipe for the steamed romanesco because it really isn't a recipe. But it's the kind of thing I eat regularly and wanted to share!

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped rutabaga (about half a large rutabaga)

1 ½ chopped parsley root (about 1 medium root)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

 

Method:

1.     Fashion a steamer basket (or other steaming device) over a medium pot filled with an inch of water. Over medium heat, steam the rutabaga and parsley root until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from basket and allow to cool slightly.

2.     Add the vegetables to a food processer along with the remaining ingredients and run on high until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides occasionally.

3.     Serve with extra veggies, such as the beautiful romanesco pictured, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt and enjoy!

 

Hearty Farmer’s Winter Soup

Makes 10 1-cup servings

It must be admitted that I was quite impressed when I made this soup and immediately knew it'd be a winter staple. It has an incredibly comforting, sweet nuttiness that I just can't get enough of. And it is jam-packed with winter's beautiful bounty of roots, grains, and dense greens (which can all easily be swapped and exchanged to your liking). It is the perfect meal, in my humble opinion. I like simple food, thank you!
P.S. I used Elenore of Earthsprout's Vegetable Stock Powder recipe here and really loved the results. It is the perfect replacement for regular stock!
Sweetpotato1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Roasted vegetable ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, medium dice

Freekeh1.jpg

2 medium golden beets, medium dice

4 small turnips, medium dice

4 small carrots, ¼ inch rounds

1 medium parsley root, medium dice

4 tablespoons unrefined, high heat oil (sunflower, grapeseed)

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Purplecarrot1.jpg

pinch of ground cloves

 

 

Other ingredients:

6 cups filtered water

1 cup freekeh or other whole grain

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder

6 leaves of kale or other winter green, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

Goldenbeet1.jpg

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.     Toss all vegetable ingredients together and spread onto baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.

3.     In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the vegetable broth powder and the freekeh and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

4.     Add water to stockpot and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the grain is softened yet still chewy.

5.     Add the roasted vegetables and stir to thoroughly combine, allowing to simmer together for 5 minutes. To thicken the broth, blend a portion of the soup with an immersion blender. Alternatively, remove a few ladles of soup and blend in an upright blender and then return the puree to soup.

6.     Finally, add the kale and simmer for another 5 minutes until wilted.

7.     Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!

 

HeartyWIntersoup3.jpg

 

 

Simple Winter Frittata with Roasted Squash, Caramelized Onions, and Beet Greens

Serves 4-6

Although I keep animal products to a bare minimum (raw, local honey and local, free range eggs), I do greatly enjoy the satisfying flavor and texture of frittatas and quiches. Frittatas are ridiculously easy to make which naturally puts them in the running before quiches. They're also perfect for throwing in whatever is on hand, like the chronic excess of beet greens in my fridge. This makes a wonderful meal for any time of day, I think! 

Roasted squash ingredients:

2 cups diced squash

2 tablespoons unrefined, high heat oil, plus more for greasing

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

 

Onion ingredients:

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Other ingredients:

6 local, organic eggs

½ cup plant milk (hemp, almond)

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

pinch of dried coriander

pinch of dried mustard

6 stems beet greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves


Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a 9-inch skillet with high heat oil. Toss all squash ingredients together on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Additionally, place 2 unpeeled garlic cloves in the oven to roast for the same amount of time.

2.     In a sauté pan, heat the oil for the onion over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until caramelized. Add the beet greens during the last few minutes of cooking until just wilted.

3.     In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and spices.

4.     Arrange half the squash and half the onions and greens in the skillet. Placed over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. Place the remaining squash and onion/greens on the top and cook on the stovetop for about 8 minutes, until the edges set.

5.     Place the skillet under a broiler for 5 minutes until fully set and firm.

6.     Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy!