An Engagement

IMG_2176

I had a soup recipe for you today… but then I got engaged (!) and all thought of soup just wouldn’t do.

Ben proposed (!!!!) at the park on Friday afternoon.  First, I completely lost it.  Then I said yes.  And then our families came running out of the bushes, where they were watching from afar.  We drank champagne and ate cheese and chocolate on blankets in the grass, and it was pretty much as perfect as it gets.

IMG_2171

I mean… soup?!?  I can’t concentrate on the soup.  Just the ring on my finger (on that finger, eeeeeeeks) and my Ben.  For the moment.

Now it’s on to planning a wedding.  Who’s got tips for me?  I need all the help I can get!

Don’t worry, there’s soup coming soon…

Posted in Recipes | 6 Comments

Malted Almond Chia Pudding

IMG_2670

Remember that time we made malted almond milk?  That was fun.  I used it to make smoothies, and when I still had some leftover – chia pudding!

As you may have noticed (or maybe not because pie), I’ve been experimenting with a bit of a healthier approach towards eating these days.  I haven’t cut anything out or made anything off limits, so there will still be plenty of doughnuts and also lots of cookies, I’ll just supplement with lots of salads and soups and whole grain banana bread affairs (coming soon).  And chia pudding!

IMG_2663

Have you ever tried chia pudding?  I won’t lie, it’s kind of weird.  It’s a texture thing.  If you’re not into tapioca things, you probably won’t be into this thing.  It’s just chia seeds (which are naturally grain and gluten free and are the richest plant source of Omega-3, so that’s probably good) simply mixed with almond milk, some salt and vanilla extract, and then BOOM.  Pudding.  The little chias soak up everything in the land — everything! — and then sort of gelatinize and thicken up, which is pretty amazing and ultimately means we can eat pudding for breakfast.  I’m okay with it.

IMG_2661

Chia pudding’s definitely not a new thing, but it’s new to me and I’m excited to experiment with different flavors — maybe next time I’ll add some cinnamon or roasted fruit or coconut milk… so many options!  This version’s not very sweet (I’m sure you could add your favorite sweetener if you like) but I like that about it.  It’s richly almond-y, and the chia seeds heft everything up and are really filling.  In general, it just feels wholesome and good.  I kind of want to try making a warm version, which to me seems like a cozier option for breakfast.

Have you ever tried chia pudding?  Into it, or no go?

IMG_2665

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Breakfast, Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 2 Comments

Roasted Rhubarb

IMG_2684 Last weekend I decided to take a trip to the Ballard farmer’s market – as a newbie to the city of Seattle and person who generally likes food, I’d heard this was a must-do.  So I was excited to wander over on Sunday, empty-basket in hand, as the sun peeked out from behind the drizzle.

I’m here to report that the outing was, indeed, a must-do.  Yes, the produce and flowers and prepared food are fantastic (salmon sliders, hello).  Yes, I did get my hands on a huge arrangement of gorgeous flowering quince branches.  I bought freshly canned tuna, a handful of sunchokes (more on those later) and some broccoli rabe, a big bag of arugula, a gigantic leek and bunch of firm, bright pink stalks of rhubarb.  It was awesome.

IMG_4750

But!  But.  I had just bought my beautiful branches and was sidling over to the honey booth when — HEY!  I know that little girl.  How do I know that girl?  She’s all cheeks and dark brown curls.  She’s dancing (adorably) in front of the bluegrass trio by the curb.  How do I know her??

OH RIGHT, I stalk her mom on instagram!  Yes, correct.  The little girl was baby June, daughter of Molly Wizenberg (she of Orangette), who was also standing right there.  At the market.  Next to her husband (who runs one of Seattle’s best restaurants and bars).  Next to me.

um… HI MOLLY!  Thanks for being an amazing writer and cook and inspiration to me, in general.  Also your daughter is the cutest and your husband makes great pizza.  …Hi.

I actually didn’t say hi, since they seemed to be enjoying some family time, and also because I wasn’t sure what I would say (the above seemed a bit over the top, at the time). I mainly just smiled from behind my giant branches and hoped no one would call me out as a creeper (holy smokes I’m such a creeper).

IMG_2691

Then I bought some granola from Megan Gordon (of Marge Granola and an amazing, newly released cookbook) and my life was pretty much complete.  Ballard farmer’s market, you rule.

As for the rhubarb I bought at the market?  I knew only a recipe from Orangette would do. This one is the simplest as they come, and turns sour, tart stalks of rhubarb into sweet, tender, spoonable fruit.  We ate it warm, spooned over bowls of ice cream, which I think is the way to go, though the other Molly swears by eating it straight from the refrigerator.

IMG_2683

 

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Breakfast, Crisps, Crumbles & The Like, Recipes | 3 Comments

Malted Almond Milk

IMG_2659

Let’s be clear: I love dairy products.  I enjoy milk, yogurt, cheese (so much cheese) and ice cream on the regs.  I’m lucky to have a body that seems to tolerate milk products, a happenstance for which I (and Ben & Jerry & the like) are quite grateful.

Lately, though, I’ve been playing around with nut milks – in my cereal, glugged into a smoothie.  I even used almond milk in some pancake batter awhile back and it was, decidedly, a good decision.

IMG_2620

Almond and cashew milks are my favorite nut milks, and they’re both pretty easy to find at the grocery store.  Still, I’ve been reading some things about common additives, particularly carageenan, which seems to be hard to avoid in store-bought nut milks (and dairy products in general, actually), so I figured I’d take a stab at making my own.  (I’m in good company, too — turns out my friend Tracy (she probably definitely wouldn’t call me a friend but I listen to her podcast so feel like she’s mine) posted her own recipe for homemade almond milk just this week!)

Turns out homemade almond milk is easy peasy!  All it takes is almonds, water, and maybe a little sweetener, if you like.  I’ve seen versions that use maple syrup, honey, dates, agave, vanilla extract… sky’s the limit, really.  I decided to use malted milk powder, which is slightly sweet, and ultimately put the dairy back in my non-dairy milk alternative.  Dairy nut milk.  It’s a thing now.  Get onboard!

IMG_2650

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy | 2 Comments

White Bean & Avocado Hummus

IMG_2611

I can’t say much with authority in life, but today I will say this: putting together an 8-drawer dresser from Ikea is a suckbox of an activity.  It takes, on average, at least two days and as much sanity as you have on hand.

True, it probably would have been an easier task had the instructions not been missing and had all of the parts been in tact, but still.  Just part of the experience, amiright?  Thanks, Ikea.  Your cheap furniture may or may not be worth the subsequent years you took off my life this weekend.

In other news, I’m feeling fairly dramatic today.

IMG_2619

Let’s talk about hummus!  It’s a staple in our fridge, and though I’ve made my own a few times, I usually just buck up and buy it when I’m out grocery shopping.  There are a few really great brands out there, and hauling out the food processor every few days to make a new batch is kind of a daunting prospect, so.  Sabra it is!

That said, occasionally I get the itch to experiment on the hummus front.  Awhile ago I made creamy garlic edamame dip, and the idea for white bean & avocado hummus came about this week.  (I think technically you can only call something hummus if it’s made with chickpeas, but I like to live on the edge and we’re only talking about dips, not NATO members or medical terminologies, so I think we’re okay.)

I love the dense creaminess that white beans bring to the table here.  They’re dreamy paired with rich (but light) whipped avocado, fresh lemon juice and punchy herbs and spice.  It’s great in any kind of hummus application — spread on crackers or sandwiches, or used as a dip for fresh veggies, pretzels and chips.

You’ll need a food processor or high-powered blender to get a supremely smooth, creamy hummus, but don’t be daunted– I know for a fact that cleaning these appliances, while not the most fun, is at least 15 times more enjoyable than assembling something — anything, really — from Ikea.

IMG_2613

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Appetizers, Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 4 Comments

Pink & Greens Salad

IMG_2579

I live in Seattle now!  Officially.  There were two flights, a road trip through Portland (with doughnuts) and a few choice words to a less-than-stellar moving company along the way, but I’m writing now from my new home office (strewn with boxes and receipts and packing tape, but still) in Seattle.  Because I live here.

In other big news, it’s raining.

IMG_2599

Amidst the chaos of unpacked boxes, echo-y half-furnitured rooms, new streets to navigate and what feels like constant drizzle, I’ve been stress eating since I got here.  Did I mention that BOX of doughnuts?  Yeah.  There’s been lots of pizza.  And there was ice cream, too.  Twice.  Alone.

IMG_2594

Yesterday I decided to take charge.  I went to my happy place (Whole Foods).  I stocked up on leafy greens and fruit and peanut butter.  I color-coded my cookbooks.  Then I made this salad, and it felt so good to get some actual health back in my routine.  Roasted greens are the way to go.  They wilt from the heat but keep their toothsome heft, their deep flavor intensifying and their edges crisping delicately.  Tossed with some fresh herbs, a bit of quinoa, and plenty of soft avocado, tart grapefruit and a handful of meaty pistachios, and you’ve got yourself a lunch you can be proud of.

IMG_2581

The boxes will get unpacked, and the furniture will fill in eventually.  And the rain, well, it has to stop at some point, doesn’t it?

…Don’t answer that.

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Salads | 9 Comments

Pi Day!

What kind of person goes totally MIA only to resurface on the one day when everyone’s eating pie?

IMG_2889

Me, mostly.

I’ve been neglecting this space and I don’t feel good about it, but I’m fresh off a whirlwind few weeks of travel and am in the middle of a bigtime move (oh hey, Seattle) so that is that and I won’t beat myself up about it.  Instead I’ll have some pie.

Pie for pi!  March 14th.  3.1415thingthingnumbernumbermorenumbersthing.  Well.  I’m better at the pie kind of pi.

This pi day, we have choices.

Smooth and creamy Buttermilk Chess Pie is a winner.

IMG_9891

In California, strawberries are already peeking their way into the markets.  Perfect for Sour Cream & Fresh Strawberry Pie!

IMG_5735

Deeply Pecan Pie is a personal favorite.  To me, it’s the pie-est of pies.

IMG_3981

It’s easy to bring back memories of warmer weather with Indian Summer Peach Pie (frozen peaches work wonders), or maybe Jumbleberry is more your style?  (Again, frozen fruit is totally cool.)

IMG_2903

Does a Brownie Berry Tart count as a pie?  What about as a pi?

IMG_2661.JPG

I’ll go with yes.

It’s good to be back.  Here’s to a lovely day of pi pie!

Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments

Banana Bread Hearts

IMG_2538

Been staring at that poppyseed salad for awhile, eh?  My bad.  Let’s change the scenery, shall we?

Banana bread!

IMG_2551

It’s never not a good time for banana bread.  Plus it happens to be a personal favorite of my Valentine, and I’m a sucker for that guy.

There are a million different ways to banana your bread, and I have yet to settle on “my” way.  I think my way involves browned butter, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.  It’s certainly a good start, anyway.  This time around, I turned to the lovely Zoe Francois of Zoe Bakes, whose blog I’ve been following for ages and whose recipes are always second to none.  Her original recipe is for Nutella Swirled Banana Bread (um, HELLO), but since I can’t keep Nutella in my pantry without terrible things happening (read: flabby jowls) I left it out.

IMG_2539

What’s left is a banana bread for purists – strongly banana, faintly sweet and lightly spiced.  The recipe makes two loaves — one for now and one for… slightly after now.  If you’re feeling cutesy, it’s pretty fun to cut out banana bread hearts, dip them in chocolate, and trade them for smooches.

IMG_2544

SMOOCH.

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Breads & Cakes, Recipes, Snacks | 9 Comments

Citrus Beet Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

IMG_1848

Hello!  This is going to be a short one, since I’ve got exactly 24 days to turn in a manuscript and I’m generally freaking out.

How do people do this?  Can I please get some help squeezing more hours into the day?  What if my book really sucks and no one but my dad buys it?  Baaaaeaifjdfjoiaealsdfjha FREAK OUT.

IMG_1850

And yet, a girl’s gotta eat.  Stress ice cream is a given, but with all the amazing citrus fruit now in season, a bright salad of beets and oranges and scallions, topped with light but creamy poppyseed dressing sounds about right.

IMG_1854

Pre-cooked beets make it easy (thanks, Trader Joe’s).  Fresh fruit makes it juicy.  Poppyseeds make it snappy.  It’s mood boosting and stress-relieving, because it’s fresh and bright but also because I can’t eat it standing over the sink, thinking of everything still left to do.  Plates are necessary.  Forks and seats at the table.  A break from the crazy.

Perspective is a good thing!  Also, oranges.

What do you eat when you’re stressed?

IMG_1861

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Recipes, Salads | 13 Comments

Smoky Bacon Turkey Chili

IMG_1000

I imagine a “polar vortex” to be a swirling mass of polar bears.  Or some sort of high-powered polar bear business conference?

…Am I close?

Living in California, you see, comes with some benefits.  Fresh oranges and avocados, sure, but also a lack of swirling polar bear activity.  Or bracing cold, for that matter.  I don’t mean to rub it in.  I’ve seen the crazy, Day-After-Tomorrow/White-Walker-Winter-Is -Coming-Style photos of the rest of the country.  New York looks miserable.  Chicago?  Forget it.  Meanwhile, I ran outside this morning.  In pretty much a t-shirt.

In other news, I’m the worst.

IMG_1009

In other other news, I made you chili!  And as everyone knows, chili is where it’s at during a polar (bear) vortex.  It’s a simple, one-pot, warm-to-the-bone kind of meal.  It uses a lot of what may already be in your pantry.  Plus there’s bacon!

The smoky bacon is what starts us off, and then the chili fills out with ground turkey meat and some spicy chicken chorizo.  Smoke and spice get topped with sweet tomatoes and rich beer, and some creamy beans, too.  Top it all off with a handful of green onions and shredded cheese, a scoop of cool yogurt and some chopped avocado for good measure?  CHILI TIME.  With chips.  Let’s see what our polar vortex has to say about that.

IMG_1002

wait! there’s more…

Posted in Dinner, Recipes, Soup | 7 Comments