I am full of thoughts lately, always really, b u t e v e n m o r e l a t e l y ! ! In Austin, brunch is kind of a big deal, as if there weren’t enough social events occurring on a regular basis, brunch is thrown into the mix to add more fringe to already tethered t-shirt that is traffic in Austin. My thought, STAY HOME! Too often today we tie ourselves to the social obligations and financial obligations of going out and about on the town nary appreciating what we have in our home, whatever ‘home’ means to you. In an effort to be both practical but not distress the abstract, I want to bring the conversation back to basics. That’s why, I decided there’s nothing better than a little sassy shuffle at home to go with your homemade noms–I’m still polishing my running man, it’s a mess…chachahca! Although I’m normally more of a savory tooth when it comes to any food item before dinner, I couldn’t resist the idea of an oatmeal bake nuzzled in a gooey chocolate sauce. May I introduce the Choco Nana Oatmeal “Shuffle” Bake…all rights reserved. :p
So, let’s say a blissful brunch “bottoms-up” to this delicious treat, and be grateful for the leftovers.
Here’s my long awaited second video. If you’ve forgotten the first video, you could turn your first at home brunch-bunch gathering into an all day culinary affair and make some homemade gluten-free pasta. Delightful.
Videos are also streaming on the Connect a Bite YouTube channel, subscribe and never miss one!
Choco Nana Oatmeal “Shuffle” Bake
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, Bob’s Red Mill is what I use)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 very ripe banana (peeled)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 1 3/4 vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/3 cup walnut & pecan mixture (I like to break them up a little)
- 3 tbsp chocolate chips (I used these Enjoy Life)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 cup (heaping) peaches (cut into slices)
- 1 ripe banana (peeled)
- 1/3 cup walnut & pecan mixture (broken into pieces)
- 2 tbsp raw cacao
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Alteration to video: added 1 to 2 tbsp water to make the sauce more fluid
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Have a 8 or 9” baking dish ready (or whatever deep dish you have handy)
- Plop and pour water, almond milk, coconut oil, banana, coconut sugar, maple syrup, ground flax seed, vanilla extract, and salt into blender container and blend until mixed, but some minor chunks remaind.
- Now, mix oats, chocolate chips, cinnamon and nut mixture (I use my hands)
- Now, in the baking dish, line the bottom with peach slices in rows (in a spiral if using a round dish). Then sprinkle the blueberries on top.
- Over the fruit, distribute dry oats mixture evenly
- Pour the liquid mixture over oats evenly
- Place dish in the oven & bake for 40 minutes or until the dish is no longer runny and golden brown on the top
- While the oats bake, prepare coconut flake/nut mixture and chocolate drizzle
- In dry skillet, spread coconut flakes out with nuts over low to medium heat and toast until flakes are golden brown (careful not to burn)
- In a small sauce pan or skillet, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao (from ‘toppings’ list) and stir with spoon until well mixed and chocolate has melted. Additionally, I amended what I did in the video and added a couple tbsp of water
- After taking out the bake, scoop out a portion onto a plate or bowl
- Top with coconut flake, nut mixture, then chocolate drizzle, then cut chunks of banana on top
- Apprécier avec le thé ou le café ! 😀
I hope this is just as delightful for all of you as it was for us. Let me know what you think and if you made any alterations. I end up tweaking this recipe each time I make it. Also, I want to say a ‘web’ thanks to my love for putting so much thought and care into this video and my first–if you’re interested, Film Fringe, is his podcast with a close friend and also avid film lover! We make a great production team, and I’m thankful he honored me with his talents. Love.
Alright all of you, be well and remember…bite responsibly!
Healthy and tasty regards,
Check out more Kitchen letters here!
Good morning everyone,
Over the weekend, I found some time for nestling into a corner of our sofa to leaf through the pages of a magazine. I never expected to find what I did, but as is certainly the nature of life, something pops up when you least expect it to. The best part was, and call me superstitious, but it felt like the universes’ forces and energies meant for me to see this particular article. What a wild world! (Thank you Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, for the 1970 hit “Wild World“.) What was I reading? The bimonthly magazine, Alcalde that is distributed by Texas Exes. The article I read was “Uncommon Sense“, written by Rose Cahalan, which can also be found on the Texas Exes website or in the hyperlink above. Below you will find an excerpt from the piece.
One day in fall 2007, Christine Ha tried to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—and she couldn’t do it. A year earlier, Ha had prepared an elaborate Thanksgiving feast for her family, but now she found herself throwing the sandwich away in frustration as she wiped jelly off her hands. “It was so depressing to go from making fancy dinners to being unable to make a sandwich,” she says. “I thought I would never cook again.”
Ha was losing her eyesight. It started after her sophomore year at UT, when the computer screen at her finance internship had unexpectedly gone blurry. The next four years were a haze of doctor’s appointments and inconclusive tests. Eventually Ha even had to quit her first post-grad job in software consulting.
After she was finally diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called neuromyelitis optica and told she would lose nearly all her vision, Ha says she felt a measure of relief. “I’m the kind of person who needs a game plan,” she says, “so finally getting a correct diagnosis after four years was a starting point.”
She decided to try cooking again, with the help of a vocational counselor who coached her as she relearned basic skills. Before long she wasn’t just making peanut-butter sandwiches, she was cooking multi-course dinners—only this time with the aid of a talking thermometer, Braille labels on her stovetop, and extra-long oven mitts. The diagnosis also spurred her to change careers.
Read the rest of the article HERE!
In this article, Rose Cahalan–the author–begins by explaining Christine Ha’s experience with making a peanut butter sandwich with just enough detail that we are able to immediately empathize with the story. We continue reading to find that not only is Christine a lover of the culinary arts but she is also a lover of the written word. Because of this, I knew I would be thinking about this story for days and I had to find a way to share. My blog seemed like the perfect place!
One of the first aspects about this story that struck me was the most obvious subject-matter, cooking, but more to the point, cooking without sight. Though my knife skills are improving daily with more precision and ease, I certainly make mistakes and I’m able to SEE those mistakes. Christine’s ability astounds and encourages me to challenge my other senses more. Yes, I’ve seen videos of big name chefs who speed dice without looking, but the ability to artfully use their knives takes confidence that is built up with years of practice coupled with the ease of knowing they could look down for accuracy at any time. All of this to say, when you love something enough–however illogical it may seem to others–find a way to make it work!
Next, I was struck by the manner in which the piece addresses, subtly, that we are all forced to relinquish power at some point in our lives. There are times when the circumstances that surface this ‘release of power’ are more unpleasant for some than others, and oftentimes, not our choice. In the world of food, there are many certainties–produce tastes better when it is in season– and uncertainties–will the frost this winter ruin the crops? However, it occurred to me while reading this piece that very few of us recognize what an amazing gift it is to be able to transform a semi-ordinary bundle of veggies into a gourmet meal for yourself or a group of people. And aren’t we all convalescing due to the abrasions of day-to-day life? It would be easy to let such a traumatic event turn oneself into a surly person, but Christine’s story implies just the opposite.
On a more personal level; I can say I have not yet experienced anything as traumatic as what Christine Ha went through, however I have certainly had, and still have, obstacles on my food journey. Reading her story has made me all the happier I haven’t thrown in the flag. We only have one life, and it is our choice to make the most of it, whatever that means to you. Close your eyes and envision the role food plays in your life, whether it’s on an activism level or right in your backyard. Allow yourself the gift of self-appreciation, as we all do this too seldom.
I hope when you read this culinary adventure tale, you will be just as captivated and moved as I was. Inspiration shows itself when you least expect it and in the strangest places. Thanks world for not letting me down!
Tell me about a hardship or road block that interrupted your food journey and how you were able to move beyond it or what you are still doing to overcome the set-back. And remember…bite responsibly!
Good Day All,
Today I just wanted to touch base and send some positive energy out there to everyone. I know my posts have been very concentrated and less abstract lately, but in my organization I am trying to find a way to mirror all the thoughts I have lately on food, while finding the proper amount of time and energy to shape those thoughts into blog posts.
As I’m sure some of you have noticed I’m dabbling a little more in the media aspect of my blog by trying out the podcast world and creating videos. It has been both a fun process and a major learning experience for me. My love has been the best support system and innovative driver. Additionally, I’ve created a Connect a Bite Instagram that some of you already know about where I showcase little life happenings and the world of food I find myself a part of daily. A new more fresh looking site is in the works too!
Everyday I feel like I get a little closer to what it means for me to feel more connected to the food world and the true meaning of human rights in that world, and I kid you not when I say time is such a gift. More than this, the way in which we utilize our time is what matters most. I’m getting closer everyday to narrowing down my health concerns and in my bodily enlightenment I’m gaining a more positive perspective on my own consumption habits and how to encourage others. All of this has been unadulterated motivation for me to reach out more to all of you and speak up about the topics and variations of foodstuffs I find interest in. As time doesn’t seem to permit me being a prolific blogger, I would like to manage more posts that you all find of interest.
Some days this is my life:
(Note: Also, this film is a favorite.)
Questions I have for you all!
Today feels like a wonderful opportunity to share a video a friend and fellow Connect a Bite follower shared with me and I thought all of you would appreciate it. Thanks for the share, I always love stuff like this, send more my way!
Please enjoy Hurra Torpedo, a Norwegian band who performs mostly on kitchen appliances! Check eeeet….
And more than ever, young Martha Payne remains such an inspiration for me. Check her out:
Be well everyone and remember…bite responsibly!
gifs courtesy of russelsbaze
I’m very pleased to say that podcast #2 has happened! That’s right, if you weren’t absolutely titillated after the first one then this one might help to get you more in the mood for a delicate intermixing of film and food. Foreign Film Sunday (ffs), also known as Cinema Cuisine, has morphed into the type of occasion that can fall on whatever day is most forgiving with time and the day that allows for the most edits and polishing to occur. Thanks for your patience in the transitioning. I hope you enjoyed my introductory post with all of the recipes and my first ever FOOD RELATED VIDEO!!! Please let me know what you think, and again, much gratitude and thanks to my sweet and talented love for all of his help and creativity.
Podcast HERE–> Cinema Cuisine Ep.2 – Italia
Some notes on Italian food culture:
This quote is still haunting me:
“Vittoria: Why do we ask so many questions? Two people shouldn’t know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But, then, maybe they shouldn’t fall in love at all.”
Somehow, I was entirely beguiled by the main protagonist, who spoke this line. It has resonated with me ever since. As someone who has the tendency to look at the world with a relatively cynical view, I cannot question the love and devotion I have to my special someone. However, it does occur to me that before him, there were years of questioning and an incredulous nature that was hard to tame for awhile. This film helped align my thoughts to the concept that those feelings or perceptions in our life that are left without sufficient closure on finality, leave us feeling as though we’re in a stagnant state of disbelief. Vittoria seemed like this type of character to me. Underlying naivety coupled with insecurity. Perhaps that is why this quote sticks. There’s discussion of institutions in the podcast, but something we–Matthew and I–neglected to remark on, is the more obvious fact that the film itself was displaying the institution of marriage of hearts to one another forever, and the credibility or likelihood of this happening with comfort and ease for everyone. Moral concepts, we as humans, try to tattoo onto our culture and place precedence on, lose meaning when we–consequently–desecrate and participate in such institutions without a willing and bending heart. Again, I speak to the idea of absolutes and their danger. (See commentary in previous podcasts.)
What is more, our instinct for detachment in some aspects of our lives and–on an outside food related note–our detachment from our food and where it comes from is forgotten and ignored. In turn, our general lethargy with consumption and the creativity that is necessary in the growth and preparation of all worlds of food is stunted. Incidentally, the media doesn’t allow much room for empathy and seeing outside of ourselves to appreciate things. What I mean to say is, our empathetic instincts are being muted because of societal entrenchment into technology and “moving forward”, rather than stopping to appreciate the present. This is where we’re all flawed; our negligence to stand still and take in the beauty of our world whilst living in it.
I hope this podcast helped stitch you in a little closer to the food world and it’s connection to another artistic medium. Let me know you’re thoughts and critiques below. And remember…bite responsibly!
-featured gifs/jpg: courtesy gelsominas, unpetitgateau, missavagardner
My experience with preparing and cooking the assorted dishes for Cinema Cuisine, Italy, was that much more care, devotion, patience and love had to go into each dish. What do I mean? Oftentimes in the kitchen, as much as possible, I try to be efficient and quick in my approach to making a meal. I embrace delicate measures when necessary, but otherwise, I’m multitasking and moving from one dish to the next, incorporating one spice or ingredient after the next. After much sweat and heart, the meal is complete. Shortly after, I either feel one of two things: a strong sense of accomplishment and elation or a mild sense of disappointment and anxiety. These feelings are common because I’m either pleased with my creations or I’m displeased with–by my standards–an unsatisfactory outcome. Either way, I’m able to enjoy my creations with a loved one and, being the critic that I am, dissect the many facets of the meal. With this in mind, for my Italian meal I allowed self and outside critique, but I channeled a level of love into the process of making the dishes that I rarely do. It was one of my most enjoyable cooking experiences yet.
Before the big meal, my love and I knew we needed to begin the process of making the homemade pasta for a few reasons, but mostly because we had never used a pasta maker before. For the winter holiday of 2012, we received an authentic, Italian press (with some extra attachments) and a bamboo wooden drying rack for the pasta. Up until the end of June, we had yet to crack open the box, and this lack of attention to this thoughtful pasta making gift set in motion my idea of choosing Italy as our next film and cuisine exploration.
Below you’ll find many recipes and my FIRST VIDEO that you too could incorporate into a day or days of Italian themed dishes. Most of them are my own creations and ideas, but some are inspired by wonderful chefs I’ve discovered. I hope you enjoy every bite and appreciate the process of making this meal or meals as much as I did. What is more, as the Italians do, enjoy this meal with a group of people and even encourage a potluck. Making all of these delicious recipes and more could turn into an all day affair. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying.
A quick note on L’eclisse. Why–before the viewing of this film–I had yet to see an Antonioni film, escapes me, but I can say these dishes couple consummately as their simplicity matches the contemplative and confident manner of this movie. Please, enjoy every bite and every frame.
Keep a look out for our podcast where you’ll hear much more depth into L’eclisse. I’ll post it in a few days! Please let me know what you think of the recipes and the tweaks you made to your own creations. And remember…bite responsibly!
Raw Cacao, Avocado Pudding/Spread w/ Apple slices & Italian Press Coffee
- 2 ripe medium avocados
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 3 tbsp unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk to taste
- 1 to 2 tbsp pure maple syrup to taste
- 1 or 2 drops of liquid stevia to taste (slightly more liberal w/ powder version)
- 6 tbsp raw cacao
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large apple of your choice (pear)
- fresh coffee beans
- coffee press
- Slice the avocado lengthwise to break past the outter skin barrier, remove the pit and spoon out contents into high powered blender/food processor
- Add vanilla, maple syrup, raw cacao, cinnamon and the first tbsp of almond milk
- Blend until a smooth, creamy texture is reached (note: Add remaining tbsp of milk if mixture is too dry. Additionally if not sweet enough, add in stevia–take care to not add too much initially as excessive amounts could make the pudding/spread too bitter.)
- Slice apple with skin on and enjoy it with liberal amounts of this delicious pudding
For Coffee Press
- Coarsely grind two tbsp of coffee for ever 6 oz of water
- Begin to heat water, don’t boil
- Place ground coffee beans at the bottom of your press
- Pour VERY hot water (not boiling) over beans and immediately cover with coffee press lid, but do NOT press down filtration piece yet; let sit for 3-5 minutes
- Press down filtration press piece and pour into your favorite mug
This dish could also be made with soft and soaked medjool dates (6 to 8). I happened to not have any on hand. Raisins would also be a nice substitute.
Also, Italians often enjoy their chocolate spread with bread or toast.
For a more dense protein treat, add some pre-soaked raw pecans (you’ll get a flavor closer to Nutella but without the hazlenuts).
Should store, refrigerated for up to two days. After two days I’d smell it/taste it.
Italian Summer Salad
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large portions or 6 smaller portions)
- 1 head romaine lettuce (chopped)
- 1/2 large cucumber (sliced thinly into half moons)
- colorful sweet peppers of your choices (I chose: 1 purple, 1 red, 1 green, 1 banana; thinly sliced rings)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (if you’re watching alkalinity, nix this and add an extra 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
- salt to taste
- course, freshly ground pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp & 1 tsp dried Italian herb mixture (my mixture is: thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram; if you have fresh herbs available, curve the amount; also, the dressing cannot be kept as long)
- After cleaning, chopping and drying lettuce, place it in a large bowl
- Add pepper rings and cucumber slices
- Toss with clean hands until vegetables are all mixed
- Pour liquids into a jar and then add remainder of ingredients
- Place lid on the top of jar and shake until mixture combines
- Before mixture separates, conservatively pour over salad
- Enjoy salad soon, or lettuce will wilt. If only enjoying in single portions, plate salad portion and drizzle dressing over individually. Secure remaining dressing with lid, store at room temperature
- Please see my previous post for the beet ball recipe HERE.
- Some tweaks: I adjusted the herb mixture, type of mushroom and nut when I made these recently, and unlike my old post, I find that golden beets do bring out a more savory nature to these balls.
Sauteed Summer Squash
- 3 summer squash (yellow & zucchini, mixture of your choosing; thinly sliced into half strips)
- 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil/coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- After slicing squash and mincing garlic, heat skillet over medium heat and add oil
- Once oil is hot–should move like water in the pan–gently place squash slices into skillet and gently toss until every piece is covered with oil
- After beginning to brown, add garlic
- Cook until gentle (to fork) and garlic is fragrant, lightly browned, but not burnt; about 7 minutes
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, serve and enjoy ^_^
Homemade Pasta (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)
Recipe by: Cassie
- 2 tbsp flax (ground)
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 3/4 cup chickpea flour (additional amount for rolling out and pressing)
Check out my very first instructional video (also streaming on YouTube) on how to make homemade pasta!
- I made farfalle and fettuccine noodles (both of which fell apart to some degree). I’ll need to do my own personal tweaking to the recipe for the future. Don’t overcook!
- SALT the water!
- Make sure you have plenty of flour for rolling out and putting dough through pasta press, otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess.
- I also recommend keeping a small bowl of cool water nearby wherever your hands are when rolling out the dough. This works much better with moist hands (the dough will not cling to your fingers in such large clumps with a little water).
- Have a partner! Though you could make this pasta alone, I think it would be more fun and easier with a buddy.
- Give yourself plenty of time and space. Don’t let the ingredients deceive you, this recipe is relatively time consuming, especially if you’re in a moderately cramped space.
- Please do not get discouraged if you are in a one butt kitchen or don’t have a pasta press, this is completely doable without both, but it will be more challenging. Respect your space and the amount of time it will take to make.
- Kick back and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll botch the recipe and process and find yourself very frustrated.
- Stick to the instructions in the video. Although I’m an advocate of going with the flow in recipes, skipping or rushing a step could lead to problems.
Walnut Basil Pesto
- 1/2 to 1 cup raw walnuts–depending on how ‘nutty’ you want your pesto (soaked w/ apple cider vinegar for 6 hours, rinsed)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups loosely pressed basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less to your desired consistency)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less to your desired consistency, taste)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place nuts, oil and all other ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor
- Begin to blend and slowly increase speed to high
- Use bowl scraper to wipe sides of container and blend once more to catch the rest of the ingredients that may have splattered
- Depending on the consistency you want (either chunky or smooth), pace your blending
- Serve mixed into pasta (specifically for this recipe) and freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray covered in plastic wrap
- This will make a sizable amount. Try freezing the remainder in ice-cube trays and cover with plastic wrap. Later, you have a quick meal as all you’ll have to do is pop a pesto cube onto your dish and heat it up or thaw it out.
Italian Creamy White Sauce w/ Parsley and Grape Tomatoes
Follow directions HERE for dressing then do the following:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 garlic clove (yes, more garlic)
- 3 tsp dried Italian herb mixture
- water to desired consistency (unsweetened almond milk for a thicker consistency)
- 6 grape tomatoes (quartered)
- handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (gently minced; lucky me, this go round I had some from my herb garden!)
- Follow instructions for dressing FIRST
- Next, add cashews, garlic, Italian herb mixture and water
- Blend once more
- Serve mixed into pasta (add in parsley and quartered grape tomatoes), or over your favorite, homemade gluten-free pizza crust (without the added parsley, just the tomatoes)!
- Italians typically serve a plain or ‘pasta blanco’ for ease of digestion as a more minimal dish. I dressed up the idea but created a vegan, high protein/omega-3 cream sauce, free of soy and other additives.
About two years ago (although I think in the pc we said one, but it has been almost two) my husband and I began a fun ritual on Fridays called ‘Foreign Film Fridays’, wherein we would choose a country, a film to represent that country–whichever one of us was in charge of picking the country and film, would prepare a meal representative of that country. It was such a blast, but as our schedules grew busier, Foreign Film Friday sadly fell by the wayside. You all will be happy to know, it has been reincarnated, but on Sundays! So, we lost some lovely alliteration, but we gained a more relaxing day, with more time to prepare. Also, I do the cooking/preparing and we are going to alternate picking the country/film. One of Matthew and I’s biggest passions in life is film, and we both have a deep connection and fondness for food. This podcast has allowed me another way to connect food to all of you out there.
I’m very happy to introduce my very first podcast and even more pleased that I’m launching it in conjunction with connectabite. Please, be forgiving when you listen to it as this is our first ever time to attempt this, and though we’re both avid podcast listeners ourselves, there is certainly a separation in action of something you love. Needless to say, here it is! I hope you enjoy and I’d really like to start a dialogue about what you hear. Tell me what you don’t like, what you do like, was it funny, was it awkward, could you understand what we’re saying, did you appreciate our commentary, etc…
CLICK HERE: –> (right click here) Cinema Cuisine Ep.1 – England
Below you’ll find the recipes to the meals I created, plus sources to some of them. I hope you will join us in foreign film connecting and food and share with me your experiences, recipes, ideas and so forth. I’d love to chat about it all! Maybe some of you have recommendations? Enjoy both listening to the podcast and preparing these recipes, and remember…bite responsibly!
Gluten-Free Orange Pecan Scones
Recipe inspired by Alex Jamieson
- 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flour
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 egg replacer (could also substitute ground flax or chia seeds)
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- Zest from one organic orange
- 1/2 cup & 2 tbsp unsweetened almond, coconut, rice or other plant-based milk ( I used almond)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I broke them into pieces with my hands rather than processing them in any way)
- ½ cup raisins (you could also substitute another dried fruit)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Take special care with the coconut flour as it will want to clump together. Use a fork and sift through large bulges.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, maple syrup, orange juice, zest, and milk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until blended thoroughly. If the dough seems too dry and isn’t sticking together, use another tablespoon or two of milk. Dough should feel almost spongy.
- Dump in the pecans and raisins. Then wet your hands to evenly distribute the nuts and dried fruit through the dough.
- Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out evenly sized scones and place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press down to flatten to 1/2 in thick with palm.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- These are slightly crumbly scones but have a nice density. They aren’t as heavy and thick as I was used to, but they are gluten-free, thus for what they are, fantastic! I was so fretful the entire time I was making them/they were baking, that they would turn out flat and fall apart because there is no fat, and for must scones that a key ingredient, but these were only slightly crumbly as I mentioned and had the most divine flavor.
- We enjoyed these with a hot cup of English Breakfast tea and the combination was superb!
- I have a few ideas on how to improve/perk up the recipe and someday I’ll post my newest re-creation.
British Beetroot Salad
- romaine lettuce (cleaned and chopped)
- two medium beets (washed, peeled, and cut into small triangular wedges then cooked until tender, yet firm to form)
- green peas (portion size is up to you, I’m a sprinkler/dumper)
- two green onion (diced at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (previously soaked-about 6-8 hours, and rinsed)
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tbsp dulse
- 3 to 4 tbsp (or more depending on your taste buds) Organic horseradish mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste buds)
- freshly crushed black pepper to taste
- onion granules to taste
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- For Salad: layer as follows – lettuce on the bottom, followed by green onion, peas, and top with whatever amount of beets sound yummy to you
- For Dressing: in a high powered blender, add to blender all ingredients starting with water, seeds, lemon juice, then horseradish mustard, and so forth. Blend on low and increase to high until a thick, white creamy sauce is before your eyes. Do a few taste tests to make sure it’s just right for you. The dressing should resemble the ubiquitous ‘Ranch’ dressing that so many love. Drizzle dressing over salad. Enjoy before main entrée.
- You’ll have plenty of leftovers if you’re making this for just two, enjoy this delicious salad for a few days. Store the dressing in a clean glass jar.
Lentil & Mushroom Shepherds Pie
Recipe inspired by Susan Voisin (via Nava Atlas)
- 8 medium golden yukon potatoes
- olive oil to taste (for potatoes)
- 1/2 cup rice milk (rice/quinoa blend-unsweetened)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil*
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (I used white)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils (creates about 3 to 31/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
- 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium, gluten-free tamari (fermented soy sauce)*
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot
- 8 to 10 ounces baby kale leaves
- cooked millet, maybe a day or two old
- Dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- Mix together olive oil, potatoes and some salt (to taste) then add the milk and mash until fluffy. Cover and set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the tamari (optional) herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring gently, then letting the mixture rest to disperse flavors. Combine the arrowroot with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
- Add the kale in small handfuls, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Distribute the millet on the bottom of the dish. Pour in the lentil mixture evenly, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. The potatoes should spread almost as if they were thick frosting. Spread with a spatula/bowl scraper.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes–to set–then serve.
- This would be especially tasty with a British inspired onion gravy–vegan and gluten-free of course, but I didn’t make one this time.
Also, I was so anxious to try this dish, I didn’t let it set for the 5 minutes initially, but the next day when we had leftovers, oh, so yummy!
Also, I thought you’d want to know we did indeed record this on a Sunday, but editing and the like took a bit longer. :p
“Isn’t it stimulating, getting back to a basic sort of life for awhile? Surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses, a rejection of poisonous inhibition, and a fecund motion of the soul” – Monty, Withnail and I
(WARNING: Today’s post may be a little heavy.)
First, I wanted to announce that I have been accepted into the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, which I’m excited about.
Second, as today is World Farm Animals Day, I couldn’t help but think of Charlotte’s Web,a children’s story, and the manner in which this author (E.B. White) and illustrator (Garth Williams) depict such a close and natural connection between different creatures. I’m also reminded of a novel entitled Watership Down by Richard Adams, which does have a larger historical undertone, but also comments on our need, as animals, for survival and the instinct to look out for one another. The story focusses on a group of rabbits and I feel that it parallels so much of the strife we go through as humans but the oppression we cause. I know this may be a dark and unsettling message for a Tuesday, but if you haven’t read or seen the adaptations of these books, I highly recommend it.
Third, in light of today’s holiday, I want to take a moment to highlight the Farm Sanctuary in New York. I found out about this place about a year or more ago through a podcast called Vegan Radio . I’m not sure that they still do productions, but some of their pods were pretty informative. I digress, Farm Sanctuary is special to me for many reasons, but one big one is what they do for turkey’s every year. Confession: Last year I chose to not participate in the Thanksgiving Holiday for an assortment of reasons, but one of those was to show grace and gratitude to all the millions of turkeys that are slaughtered each year for one day. I needed to use that day in observance of these animals. When I found out that the Farm Sanctuary in NY actually feeds the rescued turkeys dinner (squash, pie and cranberries), Celebration for the Turkeys, I was elated and filled with an incredible amount of relief. What a wonderful message and action! So, if you’re in the area, or want to take a trip this fall, I recommend stopping at the Farm Sanctuary in California or New York and enjoy the presence of these creatures and enjoy a delicious vegan dinner to follow.
Finally, just as a note: I have many killer posts a brewin’, some which are far over do, but I would also like to talk about, World Vegetarian Day, which occurred yesterday (yeep, I’m a little behind on the post I know, but I didn’t forget. 😀 ). This day–which this year fell on a Meatless Monday–was first recognized in the late 1970s by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) and has gotten much notice as the decades have passed. It is the first day in a series, which highlights Vegetarian Awareness Month and ends with World Vegan Day 1 November 2012. Although it stands true to me that nothing should be truly celebrated just one day out of the year, I think there is something special about having specific days to focus on a topic. I hold this day very close because of how it relates to food and its connection to our lives.
Pinpointing one trend I’ve noticed in the year of 2012 more than any other–in relationship to food and diet that is–is that a vegetarian or vegan diet (which largely defines my lifestyle) makes people, at large, feel uncomfortable, ill at ease, self-conscious, a little twitchy and sometimes I would say anxious. These flurry of emotions seem to surface as soon as someone sees what I’m eating, my diet is discovered, they hear someone commenting on a dish I’ve prepared, they feel as though their diet is under attack, and often they get defensive and try to find loop-holes. On the other hand, I’ve had an incredible amount of positivity and interest thrown my way this year in regards to my diet, diet in general and food related topics. I’ve acquired more readers here and I’ve had thoughtful discussions begin about important and simple subjects. Different perspectives are important, and I certainly can’t cover everything in one blog post, one tweet or one Facebook status update. I’m grateful to those who have allowed me the room to grow this blog/website into something more than just a virtual page for commentary of my own, on assorted topics regarding food and our relationship with it. Living a life free of animal products has been one of many challenges, discoveries and enlightening experiences. Personally, I have a sensitivity to blatant misuse of non-human animals, but my ongoing goal is to become more connected to all of those less than obvious actions that occur and are so easy to overlook if you’re connected to the mainstream ‘eating’ world.
SOOOOO, rather than writing a long and overly sentimental post about being vegetarian (not that doing this would be a bad thing), I’ve decided to approach this day with humor. Here are some cartoons you might enjoy, pass them along! It’s so easy to choose to be offended by something that questions your beliefs (we see this occurring a lot recently around the world), but I prefer to laugh and take a moment to reflect on the heart of the matter. Who are you truly mad at when someone negates your food choices or lifestyle choices? Humor is indeed a way to embrace that elephant I keep talking about. Think about it.
Here are a few posts you may find intriguing on a day like today:
I hope you all have a great afternoon!
And remember…bite responsibly.
I cannot think of a day that passes by where I don’t discuss food in some manner or it is not brought up in my presence. Food, in so many ways, has a magnetizing effect on people, and I think there are a lot of answers to the ‘troubles’ we might have in this wacky world, if only to sit among friends, co-works, peers, mentors, even strangers and talk about food. Yes, there’s room to be offended, but there’s also room for opening up one’s perspective on how they view food. You may even find those certain special people with whom you can esoterically confab and create a high point to your day.
Today I just want to talk about food. Why I like it, and why I enjoy gabbing about it. Someone recently said to me, ‘I think it’s weird that some people just go on & on about food, I don’t get it.’ Well, it is my goal to help you get it, and even if after reading this post you still don’t give a hoot, at least you might be able to appreciate what you don’t understand.
Why Food is Amazing – Why I Love to Talk about Food
featuring Metallo. Metallo was formerly a regular man (John Corben) and was surgically turned into a man of metal. He has super strength like Superman, but can no longer sense anything or feel emotion. (Although they show him getting angry…hmm). We’re previously shown that John Corben the man, is both a womanizer and foodie himself and enjoys the pleasures of a rich diet. When he’s converted into a machine that has one major use, extra strength, the embellishment of his neglected senses is the writers way of sending a message. Our senses are connected and make us who we are, animals. If we can’t enjoy a delicious meal, that makes us a little less animal. Just a thought.
Though this list is by no means exhaustive, it is a conversation starter. Something I mentioned ad nauseam was ‘senses’ and how we both use and abuse them and how connected our ingestion of food is to our sensory pleasures. What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Tell me why you do or don’t love food and talking about it.
And remember…bite responsibly.
Healthy and Chatty Regards,
Hello gentle readers. Happy Free Comic Book Day!!!
A note that’s ever so off topic, yes, it’s free comic book day and I got some fun loot. It’s always okay to nurture the nerd in you, and what a great way to do it.
Lately, as film is a very important and fun aspect of my life, I’ve made a point to check out at least one new film a week in theaters. What’s on my mind today? The Five Year Engagement. Props to Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller for pulling off one of the few non-vomit worthy romcoms I have seen. Though there were a couple of schmaltzy moments, I feel like this film truly stayed away from a lot of the maxims that are tossed around like a dinner salad in most films of its genre. But that’s not exactly why I am bring up this film, not entirely. What I’m here to reflect on is two things: animals as a metaphor for change and the use of (oh and SPOILER ALERT) a food trailer. Within the film’s most gripping moment, we see Tom (Segel) bevel himself into a Michigan hunter who lives off of his forage and more than peruses becoming one with nature and the animals. Dear fur-lined mugs with hove handles, drinkable honey (Tom become somewhat of a bee keeper), to an entire meal centered around the ‘game’ he’s hunted, Tom has created what could be perceived as both eccentric and weird to grotesque and appalling to some. Now That I’ve created this lovely visual for you all, let me get down to the brass tacks (plz excuse my cliché). My initial and most immediate reaction after viewing these parts of the film was disgust and irritation. ‘Oh, spectacular. Another Hollywood film that blatantly uses non-human animals as just another prop, comedic relief, amusement factor. Exploitation, yuck!’ However, while digesting the film I was brought to the conclusion that though it seems harsh to create a type of metamorphosis for a man by him turning into his nature creatures, this could also be seen as something more natural. I began thinking about how estranged Tom’s character had become by this point in the film, and how we as human beings are more capable of adapting to our surroundings than we truly realize. Our lives are more circumstantial than we realize and we’re going to flourish in some way no matter where we reside. The use of faux animal in TFYE no longer disturbs me. No actual animals were harmed and I have come to understand that I feel Segel and Stoller could be making a bigger commentary about how we abuse our surroundings.
Likewise, these two writers tied in the trendy food trailer as a way for Tom to find another way to exist as a creator of enjoyment by means of food, yet in a much more approachable and feasible way. However it seems meat consumption is oddly belabored, which I wasn’t a fan of, but I suppose you can’t win them all. The point of me mentioning all of this? Connectedness to your food and the environment cannot just stop with a grocery store or market visit. I feel it needs to be a notion that you carry with you. Some may find this to be a very heavy chip to have on your shoulders, but I find it invigorating and enlightening to enrich my life with analytical thinking. Somehow, it makes the asinine more understandable.
See this film, let me know your views. I would like to hear from you.
Have a killer Comic Book Saturday!
And remember…bite responsibly.
One weekend can feel very differently from another depending simply on a person’s outlook. This weekend in particular I watched a lot of films including : Celebrity, Whatever Works, Around the World in 80 Days, Jeff Who Lives at Home, and Who Killed the Electric Car. I am not sure if the perspective I gained is something I did consciously, but each film appeared to touch on a theme of personal choice and how these choices affect other people. The lines of this idea were not perfectly drawn in each movie, but I think the ambiguity is perhaps why they lingered with me.
To be perfectly fair, there is a nihilistic side of me and I’ve been known to be a bit of a misanthrope, but as time progresses, this side of me is dissolving to some extent. Why is there this negative side of me? I don’t know that I can answer that question with 100% clarity, but I know there’s one aspect of nihilism that stays with me. I find comfort in questioning things, and I feel a lot of questions of life, existence, and how we’re all tied to one another can be dark, grim and appear disorderly, but they are nonetheless questions that need to be asked. All of the above being stated, I’d like to think that I am a blossoming optimist with each day that passes, and that is why these films affected me with such percussion.
Without meandering down a long road of diction and rhetoric, I’d like to show you a 6 1/2 minute clip from Whatever Works, that channeled my inner pessimist. There’s a sunny side, so keep reading, post video.
Whatever Works; written & directed by Woody Allen
Everybody’s happy to talk, full of misinformation. If I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, I don’t want to live. And with it all, the day still comes when they put you in a box.
– Boris (Larry David, from the clip)
Immediately after seeing this portion of the film I felt very silly for starting this blog. I questioned what I was doing writing out posts for anyone to read, knowing that I’m not an expert on the subjects I discuss. I’m just another student of life–as trite as that may sound–like the rest of you, why should you care about what I have to say? However, commiserating and discussing is never a bad thing. Questioning and expressing thoughts is not illegal, and it happens that there might be a select few who do care about what I’ll be mulling over on each entry. Worry resolved.
A proselytizer I am in context to supporting a cause or point of view, but I am not the type to push my views on others unless an urgent situation presents itself. Being vegan is a ‘lifestyle’ in many ways, and unfortunately the term itself has a very negative connotation. I think living a cruelty-free life is still something that needs to be discussed, and connecting our actions with what we eat is as well. Clarity in life is difficult to find, and we’re all left with the big question, what’s this all for? I don’t have the answer you want, but I can say the life you lead is up to you in many ways, but ignoring signs of change and impact can be a mistake.
Every tiny choice you make impacts the next, and of course domino effect kicks in. Living life knowing that each choice made is invariably leading to death is realistic, but how pleasant is that reality? I’m not saying pull an ostrich, but dwelling on unharmonious factoids about the demise of our existence is dreadful and unproductive. Be aware, and move on, trying to make changes in whatever way you’re capable.
On food. Remember, you don’t have to eat the way any person tells you to, but it’s okay to seek advice and counsel about what you consume, how it affects your body and where it comes from. What’s most difficult about change at an adult age–in relationship to diet and moralistic choices in connection to other animals–is that we’re not all raised with the education necessary to comfort these quandries. The learning curve and empathy factor is thrown off tremendously. The how and where factor of what we consume is more important than most realize. Moreover, eating is fantastic and can be very enjoyable, but there is a purpose for what we eat. Understanding and respecting this connection can make the body that moves you through life healthier and ideally happier.
And remember…bite responsibly.