We numb the pain that comes from feeling inadequate and ‘less than’. However, when we numb the pain of one emotion we numb everything. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.
Brene Brown

"Well, Knock Me Over With A Feather"

(Above: Kale Salad dressed in organic olive oil + lemon juice, tossed with dried Michigan cherries, pecans, white cheddar crumbles and chia seeds. A traveler’s salad, if you will.)

I expanded my destination roster of the month westward to Chicago this past weekend! One of my brothers (who’s also a little bit my best friend) is a glorious Northwesterner. The day we ended our trip was the university’s “Dillo Day”- a rampant celebration of all it means to be a college student, sponsored by the college. I’m talking hookah tents, beer gardens, face painting and multiple music stages. Did I mention that this school is literally perched on Lake Michigan? As in, one step off the lush campus and you’re swimming in a big blue bowl of gorgeous? Well, it is.

Homemade sourdough spelt pizza crust with kale, roasted corn, marinara/pesto, a bit of shredded cheddar and a fried egg. The other half of the plate is greens, glorious greens! ‘Twas the most enjoyed family dinner I’ve made yet. The young brah was “very proud of it”.

That orange mush is a baked sweet potato on the brink of being imbued with spelt flour. Mashed sweet potato + nut/whole grain flour = sweet potato gnocchi. Dressed in a parmesan pesto… divinity.

My sweet fairy of a friend visited Ann Arbor yesterday and we explored the Farmer’s Market together. We were whirlpooled into the booth of a woman who makes dreamcatchers, “prayer arrows”, smudge, “alignment circles” and other combinations of shells, leather, stones and feathers. I asked how she became interested in her craft and she answered without a beat:

"My son died ten years ago and I started running. On every run I would find at least a feather on my path so I started collecting them. I’ve never had a set spirituality, but suddenly this made sense to me…" And on she spilled about finding her heart in feathers on footfalls. It never fails to astonish me how natural it is for people to be truly open, honestly honest and hugely passionate. It’s a rare day that I’m not pleasantly surprised by the giant human hug that is possible. We thanked her, bought some mint smudge and moved onto a candle man, slightly more full than before.

Chocolate Chip Cookies made with coconut flour… an experiment which will certainly have a “Take Two” someday soon.

"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." -Mary Oliver

Trying to see more of the world in the world around me daily. Removing the perception of knowledge from the picture leaves room for absolute astonishment. Placing a pen on paper transforms the scope of your existence. So thanks for that, M.O. I feel ya. I really do. Have a great week, y’all…


"I’m Proud of It"

When I first started my cooking (or non-cooking) adventures, I made kale chips at home. The scent pervaded the downstairs, raising a multitude of questions from my unsuspecting family. “Is that… garlic…. something?” pondered my father. Then the less apologetic “what IS that?” from my youngest brother. When the latter finally sampled the finished kale chips, he pronounced “I don’t know… I’m not proud of those” and requested that I store them in a sealed box in my bedroom.

How far we’ve come since.

Yesterday my Memorial Day project was cheesecake. Making vegan foods at home is an adventure- not because it’s difficult or I’m lacking for anything in our beautiful kitchen. It’s an adventure because I am asked multiple times if I’m missing the cream cheese.

"No, it’s a raw vegan cheesecake."
“Oh.”

This cheesecake is chocolatey, nutty crumble and smooth, tangy whip. It is spicy chai caramel drizzled generously and spruced up with sliced berries. But it is not cheese. It IS however, gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan. So that’s something. And so is the astounded “I’m proud of it!!” that escaped my brother’s mouth between bites.

Choco-Nut Chai Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup pecans
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup cacao powder
1 tsp sea salt

Filling:
2 cups cashews
1 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1 cup medjool dates
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Caramel Chai Sauce:
one can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
nutmeg + cinnamon to taste

Set cashews and coconut in a bowl of water to soften while you prepare the crust.

In a food processor or blender, finely grind the pecans and cacao together. Add dates gradually until the crust looks crumby and sticky. Press this delectable mixture into a cake pan, thinly across the bottom and slightly up the sides. (I was lucky enough to have a cheesecake pan in the kitchen- it made removing the cake in the end so much easier, although it’s certainly not imperative to have that specific pan.)

Blend all ingredients for the filling, including the soaked cashews and coconut. Try to get this mixture as fine and smooth as possible. Pour it over your crust and distribute evenly over the pan.

For the caramel sauce, pour your canned coconut milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add maple syrup and reduce heat to medium simmer. Add in nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. You will probably have to keep an eye on the sauce for a half hour or so, depending on how quickly it thickens. Once it seems more saucy than milky, transfer to a jar to cool. Once it has cooled (and thus solidified further), pour half over the top of the cheesecake and save the rest for serving.

Refrigerate your cheesecake preferably over night (if you can wait that long… I couldn’t…) and serve sliced with berries, caramel sauce and any toppings of your choice.

In closing, for now…
“Good food nourishes us, and the disparity between processed, packaged junk and fresh, delicious meals is analogous to the difference between falling out of bed with a one-night-stand to falling in love with Mr. Right, between accepting a job that pays the bills and discovering a path that is your passion.” -Daphne Oz (from Relish)


A Long Lost Blog

…is what this space has become. Lost in the ethers of my “to-do” list, it became a don’t/can’t/won’t…

But it is good to be back. I tumble out into the world as a college grad, Bachelors of Music in hand and I’m already tripping on my own uncertain, dancing feet. Technically speaking, I know what’s next. Somehow my brain is having trouble communicating that to my soul. Faulty phone service, I’m sure.

There have been celebratory weeks, teary phone calls, moments of deep uncertainty, good reads, long walks, wrong trains taken and the above veggie juice/cookie combo meal. Sometimes it just has to happen.

I’ve had fun packing travel meals (quinoa spring rolls, above) and making comfort treats like vegan Choco Oat bars. I was struck with the idea for a book. I moved out of an apartment and back home for three weeks before I road trip across the country to my job out in Boise, ID. I’m excited to see what the West holds in it’s palms for me…

NYC, Ann Arbor, Cleveland. That has been the tune of my past few months. I am glad to be back, expanding the song, delivering new perspectives and projects. And, with a little Mary Oliver to pat us all on the back, I’m out for now…

"Sometimes, I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed." -M.O.


Mexico- The Staves


Dose of Good- 4/9/13

I am so erratic with this space. One thing I do without fail: find time to read other people’s blogs! Here are some things that have been floating my boat already this morning. (Other things non-web related: I woke up to birds and cool spring air, my coffee is GOOD, I’m barrelling into one of the most exciting weeks of the past 22 years- and feel pretty cool about it all-, my mom and dad arrive tomorrow afternoon, naps, fresh air…)

1. Green Kitchen Stories’ post on “fika”- the Swedish version of a coffee break. Sounds like my style indeed.
http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/banana-bread/

2. The Yellow House- A New Domesticity. This is the tip of a beautiful iceberg; examining why a return to the kitchen/garden/country is perceived as cultural regression (especially for women).
http://casayellow.com/2013/04/01/a-new-domesticity/#more-2703

3. Sprouted Kitchen- To Feed and Be Fed. Yet another beautiful lifestyle piece about nuturing one another.
http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2013/3/19/to-feed-and-be-fed.html

4.
That feeling.

Enjoy, explore…


Lemon Pepper Kale Chips
(Pictured before dehydration)
One head curly green kale tossed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips
(Pictured before dehydration)
One head curly green kale tossed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.


Curry Pepper Cauliflower Soup (or, “I Have a Case of the Februaries and All I Want To Do Is Cook Warm Things”)
Sauté onion and garlic in a sauce pan until they become translucent. Add one box of veggie broth plus one cup of water. Chop half a head of cauliflower and one head of celery- bring to a boil. Add curry spice, nutmeg, turmeric and other seasonings of choice. Once veggies have softened, add a cup of cooked quinoa and kidney beans. Serve sprinkled with black pepper…

Curry Pepper Cauliflower Soup (or, “I Have a Case of the Februaries and All I Want To Do Is Cook Warm Things”)
Sauté onion and garlic in a sauce pan until they become translucent. Add one box of veggie broth plus one cup of water. Chop half a head of cauliflower and one head of celery- bring to a boil. Add curry spice, nutmeg, turmeric and other seasonings of choice. Once veggies have softened, add a cup of cooked quinoa and kidney beans. Serve sprinkled with black pepper…


Homegrown Life

This shit ain’t lived in the beige times
No
we like to play
messy, exhilarated, wrecked and wrong.
We eat humanity and sensation
instead of Wheaties
we papîer machét hearts together
to set ‘em out in a monsoon.
We burn what we build and
act like it was an accident
No-
that’s just us teaching
us
impermanence.
That’s just our fumbling baby fingers
dipping into the whoa
of the big-world backdrop.
Oh, God,
I met you in play.
Let me stay up too late
and lose myself
drop me on the edge of
bumfuck nowhere
and giggle while I try to get home
let me kiss too many and too long
let the days stretch on
build me up to crash on down
imbibe me with the risefall
of your brightest, hottest, molten
Homegrown Life.
Hit me with it.
Scour my skin with this rollin’ terrain.
Goodnight, Amen.