Galette for breakfast: guaranteed to improve your election day experience

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Galette and pears and hazelnuts and dark chocolate and November!

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I love fall because it means pears are EVERYWHERE and I love pears so this just feels like a win-win situation. Besides that, throw in some dark chocolate hazelnut filling and put all that goodness in a cardamom crust? Sign me up. And then eat it for dessert with ice cream and then for breakfast with (what else) eggs and kale and sourdough toast? Yeeessssss please thanks.

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Let’s see, what else… today is election day! Did you vote?! I voted absentee ages ago and didn’t get a sticker… they should send stickers with the ballots!

And the time changed, woohooo for not having to get up in the dark anymore! I miss the extra daylight hours but I’d rather not go to work when it’s still dark out… Jessie and I enjoyed our extra hour of snuggles:

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Pretty skies lately!

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Annnnnd I’ve been drawing again, shocker I know. I just read a study that says making art reduces cortisol levels! Which is awesome and I think I subconsciously knew that because drawing always gets me into the flow state, pretty much without fail.

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But anyway, back to galette!

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This sounds complicated but totally isn’t. The crust is forgiving and easy to work with, and the filling comes together in a snap. Also, unlike the last time I made galette and crammed a truckload of blueberries into it, this one is far more structurally sound since pears are a little easier to wrangle than blueberries.

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Give yourself a break from watching those election returns and gaze on this instead. I guarantee it’ll lower your cortisol levels ;) 

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Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Cardamom Crust

Grain free, gluten free, paleo and refined sugar free. Yay! There is butter, though a sub for coconut oil might definitely be possible (if you try it, tell me how it goes!). Yield: 1 galette, serving sizes are up to your discretion ;) A Wait are those Cookies original!

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For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, cardamom, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the dark chocolate hazelnut filling*:

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts, skins mostly removed (reserve a few for topping purposes if you want!)
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

* measurements are approximate! Adjust as necessary to suit your tastebuds :)

Blend hazelnuts in a vitamix or high power blender / food processor until a nut butter consistency forms (it’s okay for it to be on the chunkier side; mine wasn’t completely smooth). Add cacao powder, sea salt, maple, and vanilla and pulse until combined. This can be made up to a week ahead — just store it in an airtight jar in the fridge!

For the galette:

  • 1 crust
  • most or all of the hazelnut spread
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced (I used d’Anjou; Bosc would also be good) — you can peel them if you want, I chose not to
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • extra hazelnuts for topping, if desired!

Preheat the oven to 375.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. If you’re feeling extra artistic or motivated, cut some extra dough off the edge of the circle and cut leaf shapes out of it because… I’m an overachiever and it’s FALL! YAY! Anyway… moving on.

Spread the hazelnut paste carefully over the dough circle, leaving about a 2″ border from the edge — I found that the back of a spoon worked nicely for this (Try not to move it around too much, just press it into place so that the bottom dough stays intact). Spread the sliced pears in a fan shape if you’re feeling fancy, or just toss them all in there (I’m definitely not going to judge!). Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Stick the leaves on the edges if you went that route. Brush the pears with the melted butter, and top with 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Brush the dough with the beaten egg (I like a pastry brush for this), and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of coconut sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine was perfectly done at 35, so check accordingly), until the dough is firm to the touch and golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then slide the whole piece of parchment paper and galette onto a cooling rack to cool completely (or serve immediately!). Eat with some kind of vanilla ice cream thing (dairy or not) because… you should!

Leftovers keep covered at room temp for about… 1 day. Because it will be gone by then anyway so you won’t even have to worry. Promise!

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Food fights and turkalurk

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Happy Belated TurkaLurk Day! Gobble gobble gobble…

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We did the usual Thanksgiving things but also did some really awesome things like 18 holes of frisbee golf and extreme ping pong and pie. Obvs. So weird. Pumpkin pie isn’t even my thing and I still can’t help but get all fancy. Whatever. It must be that extra baking gene I picked up somewhere in my travels to this particular incarnation.

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Oh hi, we love whipped cream.

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And then in attempting to use my parent’s favorite kitchen gadget (the Austrian whipped cream whipper they’ve had foreverrrr) at altitude, we laughed till our abs ached as the silly thing tried to explode and decant its contents violently all over the kitchen. No such luck, rouge whipper, we have your number and in no way are you going to be allowed to explode, no matter how much copious fizzing and spurting and hilariously juvenile noises end up emerging from your innards. In the end, a second batch of cream got whipped by hand but not before a mini food fight broke out. No big deal.

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Also lentils. IMG_6986

I made this dish forever ago but never got around to sharing it, so I’ll do that now… which is rather fitting considering it’s made of lentils and despite the plethora of turkey currently sweeping the nation, I prefer lentils, thank you. So here you go, my non-turkalurk-eating-crowd, this is for you. And for me, come to think of it…

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Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for lots of things, up to and obvs including food. Gobble gobble…

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Roasted Kabocha Squash Lentil Dal

Gluten free and vegan! Rather quick, if you preroast the squash and all that. I adapted the recipe from happy hearted kitchen, here! Hearty and perfect for winter comfort food without the heavy ick factor… Just a warming bowl of spicy lentils to keep you dancing and happy.

  • 1 small kabocha squash
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • a few twists of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1.5 c light coconut milk
  • 4 c veggie stock
  • chopped cashews, Persian cucumbers and shredded coconut to garnish

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For the squash: wrestle the squash and successfully cut it in halvsies. Preheat the oven to 400. Scoop out the squash seeds, and brush the insides of the squash with avocado oil (or another high heat oil would be fine here). Roast, cut side down, on a rimmed cookie sheet until the sides of the squash can be pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. Remove squash from oven, flip over, and let cool until you can comfortably scoop out the puree.

In a large pot over medium, heat olive oil. Add diced onion and garlic, fresh ginger and turmeric, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add a splash of water if needed if things get too dry or the spices are sticking. Toss in cumin, ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, a twist of pepper, and some sea salt, and stir to combine. Add rinsed and drained lentils and diced bell pepper, followed by the coconut milk and enough broth to cover the top of the lentils, and stir again. Bring to a boil (I covered mine and watched it like a hawk), then reduce heat to low and let it simmer covered for about 35-40 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the squash puree. I purposefully left some chunks in mine for texture… You can blend it with an immersion blender here if you like, but I chose to leave mine as is—red lentils are so soft anyway that they’re pretty much perfect here. Season to taste with the rest of the salt and more pepper, if you’re spicy like me. Garnish with persian cucumbers, chopped cashews, and shredded coconut for fun!

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. If it’s thickened up quite a bit when you go for leftovers, add a splash of broth and heat it back up on the stove (or leave it thick—I love it like that the next day).

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Brain mush.

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I think I’m just really obsessed with mushy food.

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What a nice way to start a blog post about FOOD, right?? Like, I’m trying to get peeps to keep reading the post, not click off immediately…

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But seriously. Mushy food is my jam. I like oatmeal SO MUCH that it gets me out of bed in the morning. For reals. I lay there going ‘ughghghh it’s dark and whyyyy and I know I have to but uhhhgggh’ and then it hits me… I get OATMEAL for breakfast. And I’m out of my bed like a shot. This is true life, I’m not kidding. It actually works. Every. Single. Morning. And I will be just as excited about it tomorrow as I was yesterday. Or the day before that. Or… well. You get the idea.

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And applesauce. And buckwheat. And any type of porridgy thing besides oatmeal. Is this weird??

I’m making the executive decision that it’s not. Because lentils can also be mushy but lentils are DELICIOUS. Stupidly so. And sooo easy. And cheap. And nutritious so what’s not to like?!

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Also. Too much studying of useless math and endless hours revising grad school app essays have turned my brain into mush so maybe that’s why I’m so fixated on mushy food today? Whatever. I made this for dinner yesterday and it was mushy and delicious and really, calling it mushy is really kind of mean because it is SO delicious. Let’s call it… creamy. And unctuous. And lentily. Spicy, comforting, soul food. There we go. That’s far better than mushy. It has character. I like my food to have character.

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Red Lentil Dal with Creamy Coconut Buckwheat

Gluten free, vegan, full of delicious grains and healthy carbs, and inflammation-fighting turmeric. Serve hot or cold—I like it as cold leftovers the next day. Recipe serves four easily, with leftovers. Buckwheat is my own method, dal adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the buckwheat:

  • 1 c buckwheat groats, rinsed
  • 2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • salt to taste

For the Dal:

  • heaping 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • heaping 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 3 c water
  • 2 carrots, chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • a few grates of pepper
  • chopped Persian cucumber, roasted cashews, pepitas, unsweetened coconut for garnish

Buckwheat is amazing: In a medium sized saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Once boiling, dump in buckwheat groats, cover, and turn down to a simmer. I usually add a few sprinkles of sea salt here (and more to taste after it’s finished cooking).  Let the groats simmer until they have absorbed most of the liquid, about 30 minutes (though I never set a timer; I just check it periodically. Groats should retain their chewy texture when fully cooked). Add salt if needed. Buckwheat tends to thicken up as it sits, so I usually turn it off when there is just a bit of liquid left.

What is a grain without a friendly topping?? For the dahl: heat avocado oil in a medium saucepan. Add in onion, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, and cumin and sauté until the onions are translucent. If the spices start sticking, add a splash of water—I find it helpful to stir the onions relatively frequently. Add in lentils, coconut milk, water, and diced carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (Stirring occasionally is probs good). Uncover, add salt (more to taste if that’s your jam) and let simmer for about 20 minutes more. Turn off the heat, let it sit and thicken for a few minutes more.

Serve over buckwheat, with veggie of choice and fave garnishes. I like chopped cashews and pepitas+cucumber and coconut. Leftovers are excellent cold or reheated the next day.

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Pinky up, I made you scones!

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Scones!!

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Because… three day weekends seem like they’re made for making leisurely breakfast things. And because I love ALL of the breakfasty items (odd, given that my breakfast of choice closely resembles pond scum… oh wait. Spirulina IS pond scum!! Silly me) but for some reason never make them (weird, I know, I’m attempting to remedy that. Someone host a garden party brunch and have me bake!!), I decided that Labor Day = scones. Besides that, I paradoxically labored a lot on Labor day and needed sustenance of some sort.

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Also I hadn’t made scones in I couldn’t tell you the last time, so I was way overdue.

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Life would have been beyond perfect if only I’d had some lemon curd for these, but whatcha gonna do. I mean, it would have been even more perfect to eat them in some English manor house with tea and lace and delicate china, but I do suppose you can’t have everything. Pinky up!

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I read somewhere that someone described the scent of cardamom as haunting— a statement I totally agree with. There is something about its fragrance that seems to stir memories you didn’t know you had, almost like they’re from lives and times before this one that we’re currently in. Or maybe that’s just me. Do you have scents that do that for you? Tea tree oil is evocative for me as well, thought that one reminds me of childhood. Olfactory memory is pretty fascinating— to think that a cascade of memories and associations can be triggered by a simple smell. They kind of sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it, or so it seems to me.

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But anyway, enough about haunting spices and such. Besides smelling divine, these are perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. And now that I actually have weekends free (no more working weekends!!), I fully intend to revive this lovely tradition and force myself to eat something besides my beloved pond scum for at least one day of the week (good luck with that one. Pond scum is addicting).

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Blueberry Cardamon Scones

Egg-free, whole grain, and sweetened only lightly by coconut sugar. Yield: 8. Recipe adapted slightly from Mama Mouse Says, here! I definitely wanted to try these with lavender, but we grow our own and we’re out of season at the moment, so I opted for the slightly more fall-ish scent of cardamom with the last of summer’s blueberries. They’re excellent with a bit of salted butter, and would be absolutely perfect with lemon curd, if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand.

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  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c plain, lowfat yogurt
  • 1 scant tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt, and cardamom. Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter—the butter should be in small, pea sized chunks. Carefully stir in blueberries, until they’re completely coated in flour. In a separate bowl (or a glass liquid measure like I did), whisk together coconut milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir wet into dry until mostly incorporated, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it down or roll it out (I just used my hands, no need with this dough to dirty a rolling pin) to about 1/2″ thick round. Cut the dough into 8 triangles, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. They’ll feel a little soft to the touch but shouldn’t be squishy… and they’ll firm up as they cool. These are best if consumed the day you make them, but store in an airtight container and warm slightly before serving if there are leftovers!

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Nuts for texture

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My favorite part of Indian food is the dessert.

Once (not that long ago… ahem, possibly less than a month), my family went out for Indian food at this ridiculously delicious place in LA… and I was goaded encouraged to order dessert before dinner… and then a dessert for after dinner. And I thought, why not?! Because I always get so full with naan and curried goodness and end up eating dessert anyway, and then I can’t move for a week. Or maybe a few hours but it feels like a week.

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So this time I got smart!! A bowl of kheer to start the dinner… and a bowl to end it. A proper way to do things, if you ask me.

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Anyway. This isn’t exactly like the kheer you find in Indian places—it’s made with quinoa and rice milk rather than white rice and dairy (which obviously gives it a nutritional bump), but it’s close enough that I love it anyway. Give me some textural, lumpy puddingy thing and I’m totally sold. Seriously. I can’t stand mousse or regular pudding, but tapioca?! Oh yes. Rice pudding? In a heartbeat. Bread pudding? Bring it. You see? Nuts for texture.

Besides, this one is gluten free, refined sugar free, and full of protein! Why *wouldn’t* you eat this for dessert?! It’s perfect, provided you’re nuts for texture like me :) (or maybe just nuts, that’s a distinct possibility)

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Quinoa Kheer

Recipe adapted from A Brown Table, here! My fambam was in a pudding mood so it served three…
Gluten free, high protein, refined sugar free, and dairy free (if you sub in vegan butter)! What’s not to love?

  • 1.5 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp butter (mine is Kerrygold Irish butter, salted)
  • 4 dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • chopped pistachios for garnish

Melt butter over medium heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add chopped dates and cardamom, and saute for just about a minute. Toss in quinoa, almond milk, coconut sugar, and honey, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced significantly (you’ll be able to tell—it will become thicker, with a more puddingy consistency. It will still thicken as it cools, so I stopped mine when it was reduced by about a 1/3). Stir frequently as it simmers, as the milk will scald if left too long. Let cool at room temperature, then stick it into the fridge for another hour or two. Serve chilled with chopped pistachios!

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An absurd amounts of lentils (is maybe the best thing ever!)

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Shut the front door.

LENTILS.

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There are no words.

Except…

I’m obsessed?! Forget the question mark after obsessed. No question. Ob. Sessed. As in…I eat them for three meals a day (not in the same day, obviously, but I do kind of have to stop myself from doing that): breakfast, lunch, dinner. I put them in oatmeal. With coconut milk and a date (seriously. You don’t know what you’re missing until you try it). Over sautéed mixed greens for lunch. With bread and mo’ veggies for dinner. Or a snack. Or whatever. OBSESSED. Lentils, where have you been all my life?!

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I’m not entirely sure what I was eating up until now in order to fill this gigantic hole that is now filled with lentils… thankfully I can make huge vats at one time so that I have lentils for days (literally). Which means I kind of go through them a little, ahem, rapidly. Kind of like vegetables. But lucky for me, last week Whole Foods had a one day bulk sale!!! (danger, danger, this is my kryptonite) So now my cupboards are exploding with all kinds of fun bulk-type things like pepitas, mung beans, brown rice, dates, and.. oh yeah. LENTILS. Three. Different. Kinds. I literally have enough lentils to feed a small army. Or me. For about a week.

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This is my favorite way to make them: they can be sweetish (in oatmeal with coconut milk and a date), or savory, over sauteed greens with avocado and a little splash of coconut aminos (or soy, if that’s your thing). I love that they can go either way, depending on what meal I’m eating or whatever.

You don’t even have to be alternative like me to enjoy them… if lentils in oatmeal scares you (we might not be able to be friends anymore but I’ll try really hard…) just make the lentils! They’re fast and delicious and… healthy! Naturally. Would I share anything less than that with my invisible internet friends? Answer: no!!

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Lentils are also awesomely little super nutritious powerhouses: full of fiber and complex carbs, folate, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Which all means that they help lower cholesterol, are good for your heart and digestive health, provide an excellent source of energy and iron, and help stabilize blood sugar. Therefore… in a nutshell: eat lentils!! Your body will thank you :)

And look!! Sorry for the radio silence, my former roomie Kira visited me!! We went and had some fun in Mountain View Cemetery, so I was a little too busy going face-first into a plate at Rick and Ann’s to eat lentils. But. I’m back, in full lentil eating mode, here to cheer your inbox!

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Marjoram, Cinnamon and Cardamom Spiced Lentils

Recipe by… me! Mutti gets credit too, especially when I have absolutely NO time, and she nicely makes may weekly vat of lentils for me. The measurements here make enough for dinner three, with leftovers. Or for one: Dinner, followed by three days of breakfasts….

  • 1 c lentils (I like green lentils for this)
  • 3 c water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, finely diced (or roughly chopped, whatever floats your boat)
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1/4 c low-sodium chicken broth (to make vegan/vegetarian, sub veggie broth)
  • 1 tsp marjoram, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp cardamom*
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg*
  • salt and pepper to taste

*the measurements are approximate: I season to taste as I go with all the spices, and salt and pepper. I tend to go light on the pepper in this.

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No need to soak the lentils, which is awesome. Toss lentils and water into a medium pot, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Let cook until the lentils have absorbed *most* (not all) of the water, about 15-20 minutes. They should have a bit of chew to them, but be on the softer side. Taste them, and you should be able to tell. Drain and rinse them, and set them aside.

Finely dice the onion and carrots. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan. When hot, toss in onions, and sauté until they become translucent. Add salt and pepper and marjoram, and let cook for a minute more. Add carrots, lentils, and chicken broth. Cover and let cook until the carrots are soft (this is why I like to dice them really finely, or microwave the carrots first, as it shortens cooking time and I’m usually hungry). Stir in cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg to taste, while the carrots are cooking. I usually let it go for about 10-15 minutes, unless I’ve precooked the carrots.

Leftovers keep well in the fridge for at least a week, not that I’ve ever really had them around that long… Serve warm! Excellent over greens with some bread on the side :)

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Sunday things and pudding.

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Things.

Pictures today, since I’m feeling more visual and less like the chatterbox I usually am. 

This. No words needed.

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 Architecturally glorious, but…  

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Mother Nature always wins! 

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Look! A barley-rice yin-yang! 

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And now the real subject of this post… pudding!! 

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Mmm, pudding. There has been so much pudding in my life lately, this is a trend I’ll be continuing. This one is barley and brown rice (would have been all barley but I was a little short—a fortuitous happening since barley and brown rice go well together!), made with rice milk and coconut milk. I like it for breakfast with more milk added, or dessert with a chopped date or some raw honey (or maple). Kind of whatever floats your boat, any way you eat it, it’s delicious! Comforting in the tummy, warming, and soothing. 

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Coconut Barley-Brown Rice Pudding

Recipe lightly adapted from The Gouda Life, here! Makes a fairly good-sized vat… I got maybe 5 servings out of it? They were varying sizes though, some were bigger than others. 

  • 3/4 c purple barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 c brown rice (mine was kashikiri) 
  • 1 c original rice milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 c light coconut milk 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, plus more to taste
  • 2 tsp cardamom, plus more to taste
  • 3 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish
  • pistachios, for garnish

In a pot, combine barley, brown rice, rice milk, water, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in chopped dates. Once the liquid is mostly gone, add coconut milk 1/4 c at a time, stirring frequently (I found it helpful to stand there with a book and stir…it’s kind of like risotto), adding the next batch after the previous has been mostly absorbed. When all of the coconut milk is added, the barley should be mostly cooked (it should be a little chewy when done). Mine needed a little more time, so I added a bit more rice milk and let it cook longer. I tasted it as I went and added more cinnamon/cardamom or vanilla to taste. Let cool a bit, and top with shredded coconut and pistachios to serve. I liked mine with chopped date or raw honey, but maple is good too! 

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My personality in four words: I eat bird food! Peck peck peck…

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Ahhh, a day off.

And… I have THIS!

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Mmm… birdseed. Peck peck peck.

Not even joking. You know those little seed thingies they put in birdseed mix? Yeah. These things:

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That I just ate for breakfast! And youuu thought I couldn’t get any weirder. HA!

These little birdseeds remind me of being in my grandma’s backyard and blowing bubbles… and feeding the birds! And quite often the squirrels… Anyway. I associate millet with sun-drenched afternoons with my gram, eating ice cream and getting soapy bubble stuff all over the dish towel in my lap. And then probably running through the sprinklers! So obviously I’m naturally inclined to like this seed, besides it being totally delicious.

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But anyway. Millet is an excellent grain substitute: creamy and kind of nutty tasting, high in manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. So far I’ve only used it as a breakfast/pudding/dessert thingy, but savory biz is coming soon, just wait. I can’t believe I haven’t eaten this before—it’s like rice pudding but a thousand times better! AND it’s good for you, soooo… why not eat it for every meal?! This one has heart healthy fats from coconut milk, natural sweetness from dates (as well as a boatload of other good bennies like vitamins and minerals), and cardamom has the added benefits of (in Ayurveda theory) of being warming, improving blood circulation to the lungs, and balancing the doshas.

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Coconut Millet Pudding

Recipe slightly adapted from Delicious Living, here. As listed below, this one is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Hooray! And… it’s delicious. Obvs. Otherwise I wouldn’t share it with you!

Rustle around and collect the following:

  • 1/2 uncooked millet, rinsed
  • 1 (14oz) can of light coconut milk
  • 3/4 c milk bev (I used Eden Soymilk, which is just soybeans+water)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c medjool dates, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • optional: pistachios for topping

Combine millet, coconut milk, soymilk, water, chopped dates, cardamom, and sea salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (Being careful not to let it boil over, oops no of course I don’t speak from experience…), covered, then turn it down to a simmer and let it cook, covered, until millet is fluffy and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes (mine was more like 20), stirring frequently. Once millet is cooked, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Top with pistachios for a garnish if desired! Excellent warm or cool.

IMG_5031

Baking > Stress Butterflies

mmm, antioxidants!

I warned you about the baking itch, did I not? Or wait. Let’s be real: the stress baking prior to my thesis presentation on Tuesday! Butterflies, I will defeat you with copious amounts of baked goods! So there. Baked goods and lots of yoga. Stress ain’t got nothin’ on downward dog. (Or this is what I will tell myself, ha)

So, since I had a spare afternoon yesterday relatively unexpectedly, I made a tart! Because what else am I supposed to do with that time? That’s right, I thought you’d agree that a tart is clearly the superior option.

This tart was/is delicious! I’m so pleased with myself since I winged bits of it, and threw a bunch of elements together into a credible whole. YAY! Love when that happens. The flavors all work really well together, and it’s even semi-healthy! Or at least not bad for you… I’m sure I can come up with some nutritional benefits: coconut is always good; the crust is vegan; blueberries contain LOTS of antioxidants, and cardamom has some spice-type benefit, I’m sure. And it gave me another excuse to use my tart pan, and that awkward half bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer.

AND I baked it whilst wearing one my pearl necklaces. Which made me feel lots like Julia. Especially when my tart turned out fabby! Don’t forget, you’re all alone in the kitchen! Bonnnnnn Apetit!

crust! I always have fun with my tart pan...

Blueberry Tart with Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream and Almond Crust

Makes one 9″ tart. I used a really basic crust recipe, and adapted the pastry cream from Delicious Shots, here! Assembly is really easy, and the chilling times are probably the longest part of this recipe. Fresh blueberries would be wonderful, but frozen work just as well—I defrosted them in the fridge and then in the counter for a bit. The crust is suuuper crumbly, but don’t worry, you can press it into the tart pan and it’ll behave.

/

Tart Crust:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1.5 tbsp almond paste
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

In  a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add in butter and almond paste until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add water until the dough comes together. Don’t worry if it’s crumbly—mine was, and turned out fine. Shape into a disc, and wrap in plastic. Let it chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out to 1/8″ thickness on a floured surface, and press it into your tart pan, evening out the sides as you go. Prick the bottom with a fork, and line with foil and weights (I used rice. Beans are fine too, or pie weights if you’re swanky and have cool kitchen tools like that). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Mine went for 20 with the weights, and then 5 without them. I’m sort of a crust noob, so mine seem to come out ‘needing improvement’. Granted, I usually think they taste great… this one maybe could have used a tablespoon-ish more Earth Balance, perhaps?

cardamom flecks!

Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp cardamom, depending on preference (I used more like 1/2, since Kira and I are cardamom nuts)

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar until light yellow in color. Toss in the cornstarch and the flour, and whisk until combined. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk, vanilla, and cardamom, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Temper the milk mixture by pouring it in a steady stream over the egg yolks/sugar, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once the two are completely incorporated, pour the mix back into the saucepan, and bring to a boil again, still stirring constantly (Sorry. Lots of stirring. But oh hey, arm workout!). The custard will start looking thick and your whisk will make tracks. Boil for just one or two minutes, and then remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool. I used a shallow one, so it would cool faster… and place a bit of plastic wrap or sandwich baggie over the surface to prevent a skin forming. Once cool, place in the fridge for further chilling.

tart. Sans antioxidants.

Assembly! (Aka the best part)

  • Fruit of choice. I recommend blueberries… I used about 5 oz, or half a bag of frozen.

Pour the custard into the cooled crust, and smooth it out until it looks pretty…and then top with fruit! Easy peasy. And delicious. And looks like you put so much more work into it than you actually did. Shhh, I won’t tell :)

Best eaten the day it’s made, but it still makes excellent (if not quite as aesthetic) leftovers. Store in the fridge!

yumyumyum

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!

barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...