Date Shake Popsicles

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Shake your dates!  It’s officially summertime.

Here in Seattle, the days are long and gorgeous.  Everything is green green green, except when the sky turns pink for an almost-10-pm sunset.  People jog around Greenlake in short shorts, shoes crunching the gravel as they mosey or fly.  Groups of friends set up volleyball nets in the park, or spread blankets on the grass for a lazy midday picnic.  They splash in the lake with their little ones, or kick soccer balls or ride bikes.  One group practices some kind of “freestyle frisbee” situation, kicking and flipping and ducking and swooping, almost like they’re playing hacky-sack (remember that?), except with a frisbee instead of a little beanbag.  It’s probably really hard to do but it makes me laugh a lot to watch them.

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Summertime rituals!  Easily dusted off and brought back to life.  My favorite rituals of the season are long walks outside, ice cream from a cone, sunblock that smells like coconuts, long cotton dresses, peach picking, new leather sandals, and, of course, popsicles.  Also freestyle frisbee.

Just kidding.

Popsicles!  Of all kinds.  I like the red, white and blue rocket pops.  I love fudgesicles.  I really want to try these smoked peaches and cream pops.  And date shake pops!  These ones happen to be the richest, creamiest pops I’ve ever made.  They’re inspired by the date shake — have you heard of this phenomenon?  Date shakes are basically just milkshakes made with fresh dates and vanilla ice cream.  Instead of going the ice cream route for these pops, I used coconut cream and a whole vanilla bean.  Holy sweet Mariah Carey.  They are good.

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The dates bring an almost caramel-y flavor to the pop, and and the coconut cream’s lush, rich texture makes you feel like you’re eating the creamiest of ice creams.  And since they’re both sweet on their own, no added sugar needed!  Just some vanilla bean seeds for that floral aroma and the visual pop of black on white.  Three ingredients.  Boom.  Popsicles.

Do you have a popsicle mold?  They’re inexpensive and kind of the most fun (I own this one).  Don’t be like me and look for popsicle sticks at your local hardware store, though.  They won’t have them and you’ll go to two other places and waste nearly an hour before you realize you could just buy a pack of 100 from Amazon in about three minutes flat.

Let’s make popsicles.  It’s #POPSICLEWEEK!

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Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 20 Comments

POPSICLE WEEK!

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Happy Popsicle Week, Peepsicles!

Billy, the hilarious wit behind Wit & Vinegar, has declared this first week of summer to be Popsicle Week, and so it shall be!  I’ve got not one, but TWO cool new pop recipes for you this week (if I can get my isht together, I mean), but in the meantime check out Billy’s Popsicle Week Page for all the amazing popsiclosity from the 37 other bloggers participating in this magical, brain-freezing, Mariah-Carey-approved week.

To start the week off in the proper spirit, here are two of my favorite past popsicle recipes:

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Red Berries & Cream Popsicles.  They’re creamy and dreamy and the perfect color combo for a 4th of July BBQ, or to help you cheer on TEAM USA this Thursday (U-S-A! U-S-A! It’s the World Cup of CONCACAF!) in their match of death vs. Germany.

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Whiskeyed Peach Pops!  Peachy sweet and refreshing!  With whiskey, so… POPTAILS!

And, just because… Dreamlover.  Ending this Monday on a (literal) high note.

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Coconut Mac Nut Ice Cream (Vegan!)

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I feel like my life these days is such a balancing act (whose isn’t?).  It’s all about keeping some sort of equilibrium.  Or maybe it’s about seeing just how much I can get away with.

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For example: I went for a run yesterday.  Do I have to do it again today?  Exactly how much laundry can pile itself up before I’m out of underwear?  Is it still considered “working” if I’ve got World Cup soccer on in the background?  What if it’s on mute?  Also, I had salad for lunch.  Can I have three fudgesicles for dinner?

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Balance.  Between being a good and healthy person and letting my inner lazeball/chubster peek through.  My good and healthy side has not just vacuumed but mopped, too, thrives on yogurt and chia seeds, finished planning her wedding months ago, and always remembers to take out the trash.  My inner lazeball has watched three movies today and has a fudgesicle stain on her pajama shirt (which, by the way, she is still wearing.  It’s noon).

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This ice cream recipe is a manifestation of my constant struggle for balance.  The thought process of making and eating it went something like this: I want ice cream.  A big bowl.  What if it’s dairy free and vegan?  That’s fine, right?  Totally fine!  Coconuts are healthy.  So is a little bit of rum, probably.  And I can add some chocolate sauce.  Just a little bit.

…A little bit more couldn’t hurt.  I mean, I went on a run two days ago.  And I’ll vacuum afterwards.  Probably.

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Posted in Recipes, Smooth & Creamy, Snacks | 6 Comments

Roasted Black Bean Burgers

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HELLO!

Hi.  It’s been awhile, huh?  Almost a month!  Which is like… a long time, in blog-years. Man.  I have no good excuse.  I went to the BlogHer Food conference in Miami last month and got really overwhelmed – sponsors! ads! video! networking! social media! –  so instead of trying to catch up on all of the things I’m not doing here, I decided to stop writing altogether.  A successful conference, no?  (To be fair, it was a fun conference, I’m just a spaz.)

Anyway, I’m back and ready to talk about burgers.  I’ve made a lot of burgers since Memorial Day (as one should, I think).  I’ve done classic hamburgers, caprese turkey burgers, (recipe coming in my forthcoming book! More on that soon…), lamb burgers and these roasted black bean burgers, which definitely hold their own in the category.

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These are my first go at homemade veggie burgers — I wanted to try my hand at making them because, though I’m definitely a meat eater (ahem, lamb burgers), lately I’ve been slanting towards a more veggie-centric diet in general, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood for meat (and lambs worldwide rejoice).

Veggie burgers can be lackluster (at best), and I was worried about turning up a mushy, ambiguously-flavored patty, but Kenji at Serious Eats helped put my fears behind me.  Roasting canned black beans (rinsed and drained, first) eliminates the mush-factor and intensifies the flavor of the burger, and adding sautéed onions, garlic, and poblanos, plus some chopped chipotle in adobo and a handful of roasted cashews, really brings the whole thing to another level.

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The resulting burger is deep and smoky, with a firm, slightly crumbly texture once cooked.  You won’t miss the meat.  Pile it on a bun with all your favorite fixings, or eat it over a bowl of dressed greens with some rice or quinoa mixed in.

Happy (burger-time) summer!

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Posted in Dinner, Recipes | 3 Comments

Cherry Cashew Sesame Bars

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Tonight, I’m taking a red eye flight.  By myself, which means that instead of nodding off on Ben’s shoulder, I’ll probably (accidentally) drool on a stranger.  I’m also going to be the sneezy/sniffly girl on the plane — you know, that girl.  Everybody hates that girl!  Rough.

But it’ll all be fine because, when I wake up bleary-eyed from my unrested, sniffly, drool-covered airplane snooze, I will be in Miami.  Miami!  I’ve never been, but I hear that everyday’s like a Mardi Gras, everybody party all day, no work, all play, okay? (Where’s Will Smith when you need that guy?)

I’ll be there for BlogHer Food – a conference for food bloggers (this is a real thing, and I find it both hilarious and amazing).  I’m excited to meet some fellow bloggers and, since this is my first time going, find out what this conference thing is all about.  Will you be there, too?  Get in touch!

I’ve never been to Miami before, but I envision eating a bunch of cuban sandwiches and possibly running into LeBron James.  What else should I look out for down there?

In the meantime, I’m packing up the essentials – maxi dress, sandals, swim suit, business cards – and plane snacks.  For long trips, I like to pack my own snacks so I don’t have to rely on unreliable airport/plane food.  Do you ever do this?  I like to make my own sandwiches, and usually some cookies, too (nothing brightens a miserable in-air experience quite like a homemade cookie).  Tonight, in the name of portability and good health, I’m packing these homemade cherry cashew sesame bars.

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I adapted these guys from Megan Gordon’s beautiful new book, Whole Grain Mornings, which I’m just loving these days.  The bars are sturdy and flavorful, packed with good things like cashews, toasted sesame seeds, rolled oats and dried cherries.  The bars, which you can cut as large or small as you please, are surprisingly filling and easily wrapped in some parchment for the road.   They’re great for a quick breakfast or, in my case, a fuss-free plane snack (post boarding and pre-drooling, probably).

See you in Miami, friends!

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Posted in Breakfast, Cookies & Bars, Recipes, Snacks | 1 Comment

Joy’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I know what moms like.

It’s not difficult.  Moms like some peace and quiet.  Moms like it when you pick up after yourself.  They like when you call them just because.  They like when you have a good and stable job (I’m told).

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In my mind, moms like planting perennials and picking up the sticks that fall off the trees in the front yard.  They like cleaning out the attic and doing back exercises on the living room floor, also cozy nightgowns and eggs benedict.  Moms like nudging and puttering, in general.  Or maybe that’s just my mother?

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It’s a fact that all moms like warm chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven and laced with brown butter and dark chocolate.  Especially when they didn’t have to make them.

This is Joy The Baker’s recipe.  Girl knows her cookies.  These have crisp outer cookie shells and soft, gooey insides.  They’re rich in flavor and comfort and love.  Like moms.  Let’s connect the dots this Sunday!  If nothing else, your mom deserves a cookie.

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Posted in Cookies & Bars | 1 Comment

Cinco De Mayo!

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It’s grey and a little dreary in Seattle today, so an enormous bowl of guacamole seems like the right thing to do.

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I will add too much lime juice because I like it that way.

And if we’re going whole hog fiesta, I’ve got a few more beats to lay down.  Like grilled pineapple salsa!  It’s that sweet/spice mix, with some charcoal-y grill flavors to boot.

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A deep bowl of smoky bacon turkey chili would keep that tortilla chip train rolling along nicely.

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And to finish it all off?  I mean I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you should definitely serve some chewy brown butter chocolate pecan blondies.  Add a little cinnamon to the mix to keep them on theme, por favor.

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Beer and margaritas are optional since it’s a Monday but, then again, since it’s Monday I probably am going to need a beer and a margarita.

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Crackly Rye Banana Bread

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Weekend baking project!  And GO.

Ben can’t tell how he feels about the crackle in this bread.  I, on the other hand, love the crackle.  (Just so we’re clear, by crackle I mean raw millet, aka birdseed, aka don’t look at me in that tone of voice because it tastes good, okay?)

So, yeah.  Birdseed banana bread.  Have I lost you yet?

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Though it’s used in birdseed, yes, millet is actually a human food.  It’s a kind of ancient seed, healthy and full of nutrients, which happens to be having a renaissance in the bulk food aisle, somewhere between the multicolored quinoa and the chia seeds (and the general pretension, yes).  And whatever, it’s great in banana bread!  With a bit of rye flour and coconut oil and not very much in the way of sugar, the loaf sings and crackles and makes you feel better when you pull a back muscle and have to hobble around like someone three times your age.  It’s great in thick slices for breakfast or thin, half slices when you’re not supposed to be snacking but just can’t help yourself (I’m told).

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Banana bread is a staple, for me.  One that gets tweaked and twisted and changed according to how I feel, or what’s in my pantry, or which books or blogs I’m reading this week.  I mean, how many recipes for banana bread have I tried, at this point in my almost-30-year-old life?  A bunch.  But this one, with its depth and crackle, is my favorite version yet.

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Posted in Breads & Cakes, Breakfast, Recipes, Snacks | Leave a comment

Sunchoke & Arugula Soup

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The soup!  Finally the soup.

Have you ever eaten sunchokes before?  They’re a root vegetable, also called Jerusalem artichokes (though they have nothing to do with either, apparently) or earth apples.  Earth apples!  Sounds like some kind of alien pet name.  Let’s go with sunchokes.  They’re weird little gremlins, all gnarled and lumpy, but oh — they’re delicious.  Kind of sweet and earthy.  Paired with mild leeks and fresh garlic, they bring a real sense of depth, a rich kind of grounding, to this bright and verdant springtime soup.

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I ate this for a week straight, you know, the week just after the roasted rhubarb, and just before the diamond ring.  It’s a happy sort of soup, I think.

It’s a soup good with bread, or goat cheese toast, or topped with roasted Brussels sprouts chips (those are a thing, and they’re amazing – recipe coming soon) or just an extra dollop of crème fraîche.  It’s a soup fit for spring — for rainy mornings and budding branches and cool, puff-cloud sunsets over Greenlake (and beyond).

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Posted in Recipes, Soup | 2 Comments

An Engagement

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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.

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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 | 10 Comments