Desserts, Outside Eats

156

Chocolate Truffles (GF)

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a truffle making workshop at Roni-Sue’s Chocolates (thanks, Katie!!) where I learned all about the art of fancy chocolate making. Over homemade hot cocoa we learned all about owner Rhonda Kave’s 25-year-long hobby turned successful business. In addition to the truffles we sampled, Rhonda also gave us a little lesson about the different parts of the cocoa pod (she gets hers from Belize, where she spends a lot of time with cocoa farmers). We rubbed the skin off a roasted cocoa bean (think espresso bean, but richer), poked at cocoa nibs, and those of us who were brave enough to sample unsweetened chocolate munched a little bit- not a bite for the Hershey’s Milk-minded, let me tell you. We then got to take over the kitchen and learn to make our own chocolate ganache, which eventually became truffles! This was a really fantastic experience.  It was clear that Rhonda enjoyed her previous career as a professional women’s activist, but her dream was always to work in chocolate. Now, she gets to incorporate chocolate with social activism and community engagement, and it doesn’t seem like she’ll stop anytime soon. She’s a cool lady, read more about Rhonda here.

I rarely find myself in the presence of people who truly enjoy what they do. It gave me quite a bit of hope. If you’ve been reading any of my recent posts, you’ve noticed my not-so-subtle hints about having literally no concrete post-grad plans. But it’s okay. Because I know what I like to do. And no, it’s not watching Netflix- though I’m sure that was your first guess, so good one! I really like making and styling food. Obviously, I’d love to figure out a way to make this blog a career, but the stars would have to align to make that happen. Or maybe I could run into a Saveur editor and convince them to feature me in the Food Blog Awards. But I dream. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to the clean slate that is coming in May. And yes, I am going to continue to refer to this in a positive way probably until three days before graduation. Then we’ll let the panic attacks roll in. But maybe I’ll get lucky like Rhonda and find a way to do what I love. Here’s hoping!

Among the truffles we sampled: Raspberry (flavored with freeze-dried raspberry powder); Strawberry-Rhubarb with Marzipan and Apricot kernel; Eggnog Ganache with Rum in a White Chocolate Shell. Needless to say it was quite the afternoon. I’m featuring Roni-Sue’s basic truffle recipe today, but maybe I’ll experiment a little in the future and share that here as well! I feel like a Campari and orange truffle could be very interesting, don’t you?

Truffles (yield: approx 50 pcs)

7 oz dark chocolate (preferably 70%) – you can use chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
2 pinches pink salt (or sea salt)
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter, softened (optional- it just adds richness!)

Topping options:
Flaky sea salt
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Cocoa nibs
Crushed nuts
Crushed candy canes
Crushed gingersnaps
Chili powder
Ground cinnamon

Place chocolate, salt, and butter (if using) in a heat-safe bowl. Bring cream to boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat, then pour over chocolate. Let sit for about a minute, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate uncovered until firm, about 1 hour. Spoon 2 level teaspoons-full of the chocolate mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, then return to refrigerator 15 minutes. With your hands, roll the mounds into balls, then roll or sprinkle with desired toppings! Chill until set, about half an hour.

 

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Drinks

153

Almond Latté (V, GF)  

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This is the time of year where I find myself back in my hometown for about a month: a stretch of time where living out of a suitcase feels ridiculous, but fully unpacking seems unnecessary. So I’ve settled on a happy medium in which every morning I remove everything from the duffle bag and pile it onto my bed. I wear whatever I need to wear, and promptly forget all about it until midnight, when, too sleepy to care, I shove my clothes back into the duffle and move the cat (who has recently claimed my bed as his throne) aside and pass out in whatever free corner I can find. The whole process repeats itself the following morning. I have only been home for two weeks- there’s still time to unpack! I’ll no doubt be saying this until mid-January. Honestly though, who has time to unpack where there is food to be made? More honestly, I have plenty of time, because quite literally, all I’ve been doing since I got here is making cookies. And challah (stay tuned, those of you who have a desire to learn to make or look at many pictures of Jewish honey egg bread).

My favorite part of being home is hands down my proximity to the espresso machine. For years, all we had was one of those shiny stovetop moka pots. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and made great coffee. But it also required lots of care concerning boiling hot steam and what is known as the “safety release valve”. In my book, this is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of baking tray burns and paring knife/finger lacerations, but those are business as usual if you spend the vast majority of your time in a kitchen. And they’re nothing a little Neosporin and band-aid can’t fix. Which brings me to my next point: have you ever had a steam burn? There is no escape. No amount of ice or crying or bourbon will fix that kind of pain. That is why I experienced true coffee-flavored, pain-free bliss when this bad boy arrived at our doorstep a while back, and I’ve used it religiously every chance I get ever since. The following latté is a truly perfect afternoon jolt, even more so when used as a vessel for dunking leftover Christmas cookies. It also makes a great dessert for caffiends like me. Looking for others? Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

Latté

1 shot espresso
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. honey, agave syrup, or sugar (optional)

Heat the almond milk over the stove, in the microwave, or in a milk frother. While that’s happening, pull the espresso shot. Add almond extract, and sweetener (if using) into a mug. Pour the coffee into the mug, then top with milk. Enjoy!

 

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Drinks

152

Egg(less) Nog (V,GF)

Happy end of Hanukkah and merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate! I think a rainy twenty fourth of December is a perfect time to share a recipe for a fairly time consuming holiday treat: egg nog! Rather, egg(less) nog, as it is vegan. This is the first time I’ve ever experimented with making my own nut milk, and I can now say with absolute certainty I know why it’s so expensive. There’s waiting overnight involved and the end result does not yield nearly as much as one would think. Therefore, I will no longer feel guilty for shelling out an extra three dollars a carton to have my soaked almonds/cashews/what have you squeezed for me. Now, that’s a statement of privilege if I ever heard one, amirite? Regardless, I’ve recently been reading some pretty scary articles about the ethical implications of milk (which is not news, as you can see from the article dates, but I’m just trying to be more informed). So I’m currently in the process of switching completely over to non-dairy milk, unless I can make it to a farm and watch the milk come from the well-treated cow. Or a world-wide restructuring of the production of milk happens. Y’know, easy and possible things like that. As of right now, I’ve been able to phase out milk in every area except my coffee, where several splashes of 2% make their home on a daily basis. Almond milk is too weak; coconut milk is too rich; most creamers are full of sugar. Complaint complaint complaint. I’m working on it! I’ll figure something out. Still, it was about time I learned to make my own, and when this nog presented itself in the December issue of Bon Appétit, I knew it was a sign. The original recipe also describes serving the drink with whipped egg whites on top, which I did not do, as I am scared of raw eggs, but feel free to follow the link and try that yourself.

SO, I have listed directions for how to make this drink 100% from scratch, and also my suggestions for how to make it a little semi-homemade, because, as I said in my last post, sometimes store bought is fine. I recommend using almond milk -or soy, if you’re into that- because they’re the most common non-dairy milks and therefore the most affordable. Happy holidays!

Nog (from Bon Appétit)

1 c raw cashews

1 c skin-on raw hazelnuts

2 wide strips orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise pods

4 cloves

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk

2 tbsp agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c dark or spiced rum (OR if you’re me, some kind of whiskey) – optional

4 pieces of cheesecloth

Combine cashews and hazelnuts with 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl. Tie the orange peel, cinnamon, anise, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth, lightly crush spices with a wooden spoon, and place in the nut mixture. Let sit overnight, covering with a lid/plastic wrap after the mixture gets to room temperature.

Remove spice bundle and discard. Blend nut mixture (I had to do mine in two batches) for two minutes. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour nut mixture through sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible (this also will be easier if you do it 3-4 times, replacing the cheesecloth each time).

Pour the coconut milk into a separate bowl. Whisk well, until the cream and water are smooth. Add coconut milk to nut milk. Whisk in the agave and vanilla until smooth. Cover and chill for about three hours.

Before serving, whisk up the nog to freshen the froth, then pour into a punch bowl along with your desired liquor. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg!


 

Quick-and-Easy Nog variation (adapted from above)

4 c unsweetened almond milk (I recommend this brand, because they only use less than 2% alternative thickeners- much better than most out there!)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp orange extract

1/4-1/2 tsp anise extract (personal preference)

+ everything listed above (no cheesecloth needed)

Place almond milk, spices, and extracts in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until spices are aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Follow above instructions starting with the coconut milk.

 

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Breakfasts, Drinks

151

Energizer Smoothie II [veggie edition]
(V, GF)

 

I used to hate to exercise. I’ve always been the person who picked the couch over the treadmill (and with fairly good reason, treadmills kinda suck); I was not a member of any sports teams following the age of nine, after an unfortunate season with the town softball league. Throughout high school and most of college I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the gym: I tried cardio kickboxing, the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, Pilates, “boot camp”, even a treacherous yoga endeavor where I managed to accidentally give myself some kind of semi-serious wrist injury that still hurts four years later. Each of these activities ended somehow: I was bored with staring at red numbers on a screen, it got too cold to walk to the gym, the list goes on.

Something changed this past summer. There was a consistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Something that made me feel wobbly and frustrated and disorganized. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this feeling and they combat it in various ways. I’ve heard driving can really help, but I while I do technically possess a driver’s license, I’m not what one would call “experienced” behind the wheel. I think the last time I parallel parked was my driving exam; I have yet to drive on a highway outside of rural Vermont. This is a long way of saying that this summer I started running. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in a while, amid a whole host of unhealthy choices I pretty much consistently make. In all honesty, running is hard. Usually I forget how recently I’ve eaten and start the first ten minutes or so of the run with weird stomach cramps. I definitely broke my toe at one point in July (I honestly don’t know how, I should really wear shoes in my house) and didn’t realize, then ran on it for a while. But other than these tiny issues, running actually feels great. Maybe it’s the wind on my face or the music or the control I feel while speeding (a relative term) down the street.

On Thanksgiving morning I ran an 8K (because apparently runners live in Canada and still use metric?) and I finished the race. It wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go, or to get a big “congratulations!!!” from anyone who heard what I’d done that morning. It was just a thing I did. To see if I could do it. It was exhilarating, and in that moment jumping over the finish line I felt really happy. A huge part of my world kind of crumbled after that day, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about feeling good from a healthy activity. Feeling good from something I do 100% for and with myself, which is actually a tall goddamn order. Can you count more than five things you do for and with yourself that are completely productive? I’m not sure I can. Regardless, every time I finish a run, I kick off my shoes, peel off the six shirts I have to wear to be outside without risking hypothermia -New England in December, anyone?- and make this green smoothie. Whether you’re a runner or a Netflix-watcher or a math major, I guarentee it will make your brain feel good. But if you’re really not into green things, try my first energizer bunny smoothie .

Smoothie (serves 1)

3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)

1/4 c pineapple coconut water (I use this)

1 medium frozen banana

1/2 c frozen chopped spinach or 3 spinach ice cubes*

2 tsp date cream, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey

1/2 tsp ground ginger

If using a normal blender, treat it gently by first blending milk, coconut water, and banana until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and liquify. If you have a Vitamix or Magic Bullet (lucky you) just throw everything in all at once!

* How to make spinach ice cubes: wash a large container of fresh spinach, roughly chop, then place in a blender and liquify. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Store in a freezer bag pretty much indefinitely.

 

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Musing

How To Make Date Cream

(aka Date Butter or Date Spread)

This is literally the easiest recipe. I discovered it whilst making these brownies. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which I discovered yields the best results for that super creamy texture, but if it happens to liquify in your cabinet like mine did, just stick it in the fridge for a few hours and then try again. The only other ingredients you need are pitted dates! When blended up in the food processor these two things become creamy and sweet and unbelievably delicious when slathered on muffins, toast, your finger, apples, crackers, you get the gist. But I could go on, I assure you. Oh also try a spoonful of it in your morning coffee or smoothies (fruit or green)!! Okay, now I’m done. You can eat your date cream however you like! Also, feel free to mess around with the ratios of water and coconut oil. I’ve found that when you add more water the consistency becomes much more like a thick jam/fruit spread (excellent as a “sweet” on a swanky cheese board like this); and when you add more coconut oil, it’s much creamier and is excellent as an oatmeal or breakfast topper (hint/hint/hint) instead of the standard brown sugar or maple syrup.

Date Cream (makes about 1 cup)

~1 1/4 c pitted dates

2 tbsp solid coconut oil

1-2 tbsp date water (see below)

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes. Reserving the water, pick out the dates Place in a food processor and pulse 7 or 8 times. Add coconut oil and water, then blend until smooth! Transfer to a jar tightly closed with a lid and store in the fridge for weeks!

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Breakfasts

150

Pumpkin Oatmeal (V, GF)

Who’s tired of pumpkin flavored things yet? I’m not sure if I am, as I don’t think I can truly hit pumpkin overload until a post-turkey-day-cold-pumpkin-pie-for-breakfast moment has occurred. And trust me, it’s coming like a freight train (t minus seven days until Emily and I make the first -and last- road trip from New England to good ol’ Jersey!!!) But before I can hang out all snuggled in a blanket on the couch with my one true love (read: stuffing+mashed potatoes+corn casserole all smashed up in a bowl, sry for any confusion) I’m going to have seven more breakfasts. Which means seven more bowls of oatmeal, because I recently realized I’m on a serious oatmeal kick. Just ask the giant mason jar of bulk oats in my pantry. Or the other container of steel cut oats on top of the fridge. Or my roommates at 8 am when they see me frantically running downstairs because I’ve forgotten about the boiling pot on the stove, even though I do this every single morning. It happens. Anywho, I was perusing the blogosphere and because it’s fall everyone and their mother has been adding pumpkin to everything, be it pumpkin hummus, pumpkin milkshakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, even pumpkin martinis (?!? someone try this and tell me what happens) so I knew it was my turn to join the insanity. I’m actually very pleasantly surprised with the results! NOTE: if you’re like me and don’t like the innate pumpkiny flavor of pumpkin, I strongly recommend you taste the mixture as you go, paying special attention to the kind of sweetener you’re using. I use unsweetened milk so I have all the power over the sweetener, but that’s just how I roll. Gotta be able to control some aspects of life, even if it is just via breakfast food, amirite? I think maple syrup or brown sugar compliment pumpkin in the most autumny way possible, so I vote you go that route. But feel free to play around with honey/agave/coconut sugar/regular sugar!

Oatmeal (serves 1)

1/2 c rolled oats

1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like. You can also do 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c water. Or 1 c water- I don’t judge!)

pinch of salt

2 tbsp canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

~1 tbsp maple syrup (or desired sweetener)

pepitas

Place the liquid and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. While that’s happening, mix together pumpkin, spices, and sweetener. Taste and adjust as desired. Add oats to boiling liquid and reduce heat to medium. Add pumpkin mixture and cook down, stirring regularly for about 4-5 minutes. To serve, top with pepitas and a sprinkle of more sweetener!

 

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Main Dishes

148

Summer Rolls (V, GF)

Yes, I am aware that it is fall, but I am going to share this recipe for summer rolls anyway because I’ve recently discovered that my apartment is located above the boiler room in our little complex. The temperature outside: 42 degrees; the temperature inside: 78 degrees. So you can only imagine what this is like. It very much means if one is going to prepare dinner, that dinner should not involve the oven and very likely should not involve the stove. Unless of course you’re using the stove as extra food-piling space when your work surface is covered in artfully-messy-process-shot-food-styling mess (my roommates love me, can you imagine why they wouldn’t? Whatever, I make them a lot of cookies, it can’t be that bad.) Of course, I don’t always do that. Because I’m a professional and do not currently have funfetti frosting permanently embedded in my phone case after an unfortunate dropping incident. But that’s another story for another post. So, anyway. This post is about summer rolls. In November. Which leads me to question whether I should I start titling the food I make according to season? Did I make autumn rolls? I feel like for something to be an “autumn roll” it would have to have squash or pumpkin or sweet potatoes in it. THOSE are fall vegetables. Maybe next time. I’m keeping this post short and sweet so I can get back to making my current dinner: a hybrid between this and this. I’ll share it here sometime if it comes out well!

Roll (makes one)

1 large rice paper roll

1/4 avocado

1/4 small cucumber

1/2 red pepper

1/2 green pepper

1/2 carrot

small handful arugula

2 mint leaves

Dressing

juice from 1/2 lime

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp honey (or desired sweetener)

Slice all veggies super thin and set aside. Dampen a sheet of rice paper sheet (specific instructions may vary according to brand) and lay flat on a work surface. Lay the arugula and mint leaves on the paper, then arrange the veggies over the leaves in a neat line. Roll the sides of the paper towards the center, then starting from the bottom, simply roll the paper up! See this super helpful photo tutorial if you’re having trouble, it was a life saver for me! For the dressing, simply whisk all ingredients together. Slice the roll in half and dip in dressing! Ps- there will probably be extra dressing; I recommend saving it for a salad tomorrow. Or get more veggies and make lots of summer rolls!

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Main Dishes, Sides

146

Black Rice Pasta Salad (V, GF)

I got really into black rice pasta this summer. What started out recipe testing for variations on Pad Thai turned into so much more. The texture and flavor is different from pasta, but not in the least bit unpleasant way! Basically, it’s really rad. Obviously like normal pasta it’s extremely versatile, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, but I don’t know, there’s something about one’s pasta being roughly the color of asphalt that’s very inspiring, food-wise. It leads to a great many OBD’s (see definition and subsequent rant about dinner dishes here). This dish is essentially a conflation of several OBD’s I planned on making over a recent weekend. I started with the idea of making a broccoli slaw, but upon realization I was lacking in mayo and plain yogurt -and had no desire to walk to the store because it was raining, even less yearning to experiment with making my own mayo- decided I would do a mustard based slaw. Then that turned into a mustard ginger soy sauce. Which led me to slice in a few carrots and sesame seeds and boom! It was delicious! But a little lacking in terms of a full meal. So the perfect compliment to the flavors all up in my slaw was obviously black rice pasta! Of which I have seven -yes, seven– packets. I’m honestly not sure how or why I have so many. I think every time I go to Whole Foods I put a package or two of it in my cart, forgetting about the others I still have yet to eat. But I’m not complaining.

So backing up to making the broccoli slaw. I bought my broccoli at a tiny local market in town that sources a lot of local produce. So when I opened the farmer-not-machine-plastic-wrapped vegetable and began to rinse my broccoli I noticed something in the sink that was broccoli colored, but not broccoli. It was a little green bug. Here’s something about me: I don’t like bugs. I really don’t like bugs. I don’t like bugs so much that when I see one in my room I tape my windows shut, which is probably terrible because fresh air is more important than a few critters on my wall, but as I mentioned I really don’t like bugs. So imagine my reaction to the little green inchworm making its home in my vegetable. Yeah. My friends convinced me that this was a good thing: that the broccoli was picked and packaged and arrived at the market so recently that the little creature managed to stay alive means it’s super fresh. That it means the farmer who grew the vegetable very likely doesn’t use harmful pesticides in their crops. That at the very least, it’s protein, right? Um. Cut to me soaking the broccoli in salt water for a while, then spritzing it all over with veggie wash, then bathing it in cold water, then hot water. I mean, it WAS $4 I wasn’t going to get back. And also I’m fairly certain if I’d run back to the market hoping for a refund I would’ve gotten a “who’s this city girl upset about her garden-fresh broccoli? She probably uses a lot of hand sanitizer and eats yogurt with aspartame” kind of look.  I’m not that girl, I swear! I just…prefer to get my daily protein from, y’know, beans and quinoa, not multi-legged inch-long critters. Suffice it to say, this was an ordeal (read: I live in the first world with a good dose of privilege, in case you couldn’t already tell from the fact that I write a food blog and am enrolled in college). This is an example of an ordeal in my sheltered life and probably not the best thing for me to be upset about. But anyway. I ate the broccoli and lived to tell the tale. I did not get some sort of bug-to-broccoli-to-mouth illness, and if anything, now I really know how to wash a vegetable. This probably means I should be a farmer when I grow up, right?

PS- if you’re not into black rice pasta/can’t find it, this salad would be just as good with soba noodles, which I’ve been able to find at most grocery stores (though they’re made from buckwheat, not rice, just so we have the facts straight)! But honestly, any noodles would work in this! Pasta rocks!

Salad (serves 1 but easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

1 bundle black rice noodles (I use these)

2 c broccoli

1/2 shallot, minced

2 carrots, peeled

Dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

squeeze lime or lemon

Toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. Combine the first seven ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, give it a good shake (with the lid on!!), and set aside. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline slicer slice up the carrots and bottom part (stem? trunk?) of broccoli. Give the top part of the broccoli a rough chop and place in a bowl with the shallot. Add pasta and dressing, then toss everything together. Top with a squeeze of citrus and sesame seeds!

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Desserts, Snacks

144

No-Added-Sugar Brownies (GF)

My original beginning to this post was the following: Wait! Don’t run away! You saw “no added sugar” and “brownies” in the same phrase and immediately got upset, right? I’m sorry, I swear this recipe is worth it!

And then I changed my mind. Why was I defending the things I made for my blog like there was something wrong with them? Why was I saying sorry for something I believe in? Earlier this year in a class we were discussing apologies, first in the context of theater, and then just in general. During the conversation one of my friends made a comment that’s stuck with me. She said women apologize significantly more than men. This is a fact, guys. (Also, read this and watch the commercial; even though it’s for shampoo and is naturally a little overdone it’s kind of important.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and am really curious as to why it’s such a phenomenon. Why are women always apologizing? There’s nothing in our genetic makeup that scientifically says those of us with two X chromosomes will be more inclined to ask for one’s pardon before entering a room or asking a question, let alone asserting something they believe. This is something that has occurred through the bizarre way women are “expected” to interact with others. I realized I do this a lot. I say sorry to my professors before making a comment in class that might not be completely correct. I say sorry to my boyfriend for asking him something that might come off as needy or despondent. I say sorry to my roommate for asking her to clean up grease she splattered over the stove all four of us share. I say sorry to my friend for asking to borrow a bobby pin. Why do I apologize so much? These are not instances where you jab someone in the ribs with your umbrella on a crowded subway or spill a bowl of soup on the person behind you in line at the deli. For those moments of accident or plain ol’ human error we should probably apologize. In fact, I’d be pretty bummed if I tripped over your bag in the doorway and you didn’t say sorry. But I am through with apologizing for feeling the way I feel or doing the things I do. If I want to eat foods that are “good” for me, I will do so. And if I want to eat foods that are “bad” for me, I’ll do that, too! I don’t want to feel like I have to say sorry for eating almonds while you eat a Snickers bar. I wouldn’t ask you to apologize or defend your choice to me. Snickers bars are awesome, I just don’t feel like having one today.

And right now, I’m going to share with you a recipe for brownies that have no added sugar (or just a tad if you add chocolate chips, that is), egg yolk, or grain. They’re full of good fats and protein. They’re clean and they make my body feel good, but they are still just as chocolatey as the other fifteen brownie recipes I have in my rotation. I’ve never felt as healthy as I have since I started making a conscious effort to eat good food. And that’s my choice- hey, it’s my life, right? If you want to have this for dessert, you do it. And don’t you dare apologize. If you want to eat this for dessert, go ahead! But please don’t say sorry. If you agree to do this, I promise I’ll try to live my life the same way.

Brownies (adapted from Health Magazine)

1/2 c raw almonds (use sliced if you want a smooth brownies, whole if you want a little crunch)

1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c packed pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch sea salt

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsp coconut oil (solid)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and coat with baking spray. In a food processor grind almonds (if using who, cocoa powder, chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place the dates, vanilla, and coconut oil in the food processor (stay tuned for a very exciting how-to post on date butter!) and blend until smooth. Resist urge to dip finger into results. Add almond mixture and blend together. Pour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk or hand mixer until medium peaks form. Fold into original mixture along with chocolate chips. Spread into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes (they firm up on the outside very quickly, and will likely not be done after ten minutes even though they look like they are). Let cool completely before slicing and munching!

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Main Dishes, Sides

143

Quinoa Tabbouleh (V, GF)

Tabbouleh is easily one of my favorite foods. It’s pretty strange, because I actually have a habit of saying of I’m not a big fan of parsley or tomatoes (ingredients that make up about 7/8 of this recipe) but there’s just something about tabbouleh. It changes singular ingredients into one wonderful magical thing. Tomatoes are no longer tomatoes. Parsley is no longer parsley. Everything is tabbouleh. Okay this is getting a little Dadaist for me so I’m just going to move on. My journey this year is to put together as many one bowl dinners as I can, in hopes of fulfilling my ultimate quest: to wash less than five dishes/silverware/cups a day. It’s not working out so well, but hey, it’s only been like a month in the land-of-no-dishwasher! I’ll get there! I’ve already made a few one bowl dishes, but was so hungry I didn’t bother photographing them..oops. But in hopes of getting my readers as excited about these OBD’s -get it?- as I am, here are a few I’ve made and definitely have my stamp of approval (side note- who misses How I Met Your Mother as much as I do?):

These barbeque baked lentils are making me so glad I sprung for a 2-gallon mason jar’s worth of french lentils in bulk at Whole Foods.

Who says it needs to be breakfast time to eat steel cut oat and quinoa cereal? It lasts for days and is delicious hot or cold!

I don’t know if you’d call this a full OBD, but this mustardy carrot slaw was AWESOME (and got even awesomer after I diced a gala apple up in there too).

Eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce (the first recipe in this big list o’ sandwiches) is all I’ve ever wanted. I didn’t have any pita, as I have yet to sneakily liberate some from a dining hall acquire some in an ethically sound manner, but it was just as delicious in a bowl with sliced avocado.

And now here are some I really want to make in the near future:

This Thai sweet potato soup is making me wish it could get colder so I can eat it all.

I love romesco and I can’t believe I have yet to put it on a pizza with chickpeas and kalamata olives. (Oh and also the Lunch Box Fund is super important you can read more on that too by clicking ^ link.)

If poutine is made with sweet potatoes and is vegan it’s healthy right? But there is a real chance I will add cheese to this when I make it. I can’t help it.

There’s literally nothing I like more than a big ass salad with kale and veggies and protein (because it’s a never ending meal and I am a notorious scarfer. Seriously. You should see me with sushi. There’s honestly no point in using a plate because it’s gone in 45 seconds).

Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, y’all ready for some quinoa? The lighting was a dream come true for food photography..

Tabbouleh (serves 8-10 as a side, 3-4 as a main; from The Kitchn)

1 c uncooked quinoa

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 to 2 c minced fresh parsley

1/2 c minced fresh mint

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice + extra

1 + tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to tasta

8 oz feta (optional)

Rinse the quinoa well and place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, then transfer to a glass bowl or baking tray to cool.

Meanwhile, soak the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water to lessen their bite (this is my new favorite trick because I love raw onions but they’re always a little too strong). Place the chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, and garlic in a large bowl. When the quinoa is cool, drain the onions and add both the bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over salad and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your preferences! In my opinion, this salad only gets better as time passes; the dressing really soaks into the quinoa. Before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and feta! Serve with pita or lentil chips and hummus!

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