unicorns

serenity now / oat & raisin nut bread

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IMG_1795Now that everyone’s waist deep in the holiday season with “to do” lists longer than Obamacare’s website, I offer a ridiculously simple gluten free bread recipe to curb feelings of insanity. Hooray! This recipe is an adaptation of the Life Changing Loaf from the fabulous blog My New Roots. In addition to this need-to-make-now delicious bread, I suggest you put down your nearly maxed out visa and place those heinous Ugg boots back on the shelf (or back on the sheep’s back) where they belong. Instead of running around the mall like a zombie, chomping down Xanax and drinking so many pumpkin chai latte’s that friends think the cinnamon-nutmeg-clove odor wafting from your pores is actually some exotic perfume purchased from Sephora, take a moment to enjoy this beautiful time of year. The holidays should celebrate our love- for family, for each other, and for the festivities that make this time of year so special, not the wrapped boxes of stuff we give to one another. I’m talking about a plump, pine scented tree, bad Christmas music, tiny white lights, Elf, ugly sweaters, and lots of family madness. Oh yeah, and a table strewn with plate-licking vegan deliciousness atop a set of Spode Christmas dinnerware. Yes, please!

DSC_0018Oat & Raisin Nut Bread 

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pecans, crumbled by hand

1/2 cup fruit juice sweetened raisins

2 tablespoons coarsely ground flaxseed

2 tablespoons chia seed

3 tablespoons whole psyllium husk powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, gently melted

1 1/2 cups waterIMG_1798

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan, and pour into another bowl with water and maple syrup. Mix wet mixture with dry and stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are well distributed. Scrape mixture into a lightly oiled, silicone loaf pan (you can use a regular loaf pan, but it won’t be as easy to remove the loaf). Allow bread to sit out at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Bake loaf for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and carefully flip onto a baking sheet. Remove pan and place loaf back into the oven for another 30 minutes. That’s it! Now transfer to a cooling rack or tray and try to wait for the loaf to cool before slicing. This bread is amazing when toasted! Try topping with cashew cheese and roasted beets, or just slather on some earth balance and congratulate yourself on being a genius in the kitchen. Makes one loaf, or enough to feed a small herd of reindeer impersonating unicorns before they hijack santa’s sleigh.

trending veggies / gluten free herbed buttermilk biscuits

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herbed buttermilk biscuit…gluten free, vegan & totally scrumptious
herbed buttermilk biscuit…gluten free, vegan & totally scrumptious

Kale is the preeminent hottie celeb in veggie land; a leafy, tall, barefaced beauty, loaded with chlorophyll (no botox needed here) and ready to kick some free radical ass. Poor broccoli has all but been forgotten, even though this cruciferous superfood is a cancer fighting cross fitter with stalks of muscle and a thick head of green bushy hair to boot. In fact, a friend of mine recently read an article about how broccoli producers are trying to formulate new marketing strategies to bring broccoli’s sexy back. Food trends are crazy, and now that I’m the the ripe old age of 30, I can reflect with a haughty chuckle, the numerous foods that have enjoyed their 10 seconds of fame, and have since faded to obscurity i.e agave nectar, acai berries, veggie dogs, and anything made by Kashi.

One trend, however, that’s here to stay, involves those foods lucky enough to bear a shiny label that reads “Gluten Free”. Like its good friend (and liar) “All Natural”, gluten free foods are the newest paved road to immortality and visions of unicorns (unless, like me, you already live with one). I nearly wept when my blood test results came back declaring an allergy to wheat, thus ostracizing me with scarlet “GF” letters, and throwing me into a breadless basket of wheat haters. I love bread. No, I don’t think you understand–like, really, LOVE bread. If I don’t start my day with a sprouted whole wheat onion & poppyseed bagel toasted with herbed cashew cream cheese, I feel as though my soul is being slowly sucked away by a dementor (if you don’t know what a dementor is, then we’ll never be friends, however, for the sake of sharing important information, a dementor is a creature from the Harry Potter series that sucks all the happiness from your body until you die).

I can’t do the green smoothie thing, or the granola thing, or the quinoa oatmeal thing, or the miso soup thing. Breakfast is about comfort, and in my opinion, the definition of comfort is a warm, toasted bagel that makes you want to spend the day in sweatpants on the couch with as many animals as you can fit.

The point is, I have a wheat allergy. The problem is, I love bread. The solution was obvious, but it took me awhile before I could embrace my new cooking journey i.e. purchase weirdo flours like sorghum, and weep while tossing out bags of sprouted whole wheat.

Behold the gluten free biscuit! This flaky, buttery vegan and gluten free miracle will restore your faith in breakfast. Try not to eat all 12 of them in one day. DSC_0018

Herbed Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

1 cup arrowroot starch

1/3 cup coconut flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

Handful of freshly chopped parsley or herbs of choosing

2 flax “eggs” (2 T ground flax seed + 6 T lukewarm water)

2/3 cup unsweetened soymilk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, chilledDSC_0017

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, including herbs, and stir to combine. Mix the soymilk and vinegar in a separate bowl and allow to curdle for a few minutes to create your buttermilk. Meanwhile, whisk together flax “eggs” until gelatinous. Cut coconut oil into dry mixture using a fork, adding in teaspoon sized chunks until the 1/4 cup is fully used up and mixture is crumbly. Add “buttermilk” and flax “eggs” to mixture, and stir until ingredients are combined. Do not knead. Using your hands, spread dough out on to a clean surface until roughly 1 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to make 12 circular biscuits. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 biscuits, or enough to feed a small herd of wheat hating unicorns. DSC_0025

concerning airplanes / fried green tomatoes

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DSC_0005This is basically what happens when I ride on an airplane.

First, I notice the smell – something along the lines of elementary school meets hospital: a stale bag of Cheez-It’s, finger crumpled magazines, and stagnant I-wish-I-were-anywhere-else humans melting into motley patterned, under cleaned seats. I sit down and remind myself that I don’t care about any of this, or the turbulence, or the fact that my life is in the hands of a random pilot who in my mind is the blow-up auto-pilot from Airplane!. When the plane turns on I feel like I’m in a motorized lawnmower; it feels shaky, loose, and completely unsafe. I think about the people who fix planes; I think about the giant bolts that hold these sheets of metal together; I think about engines and birds flying into engines. Luckily, I’m saved by the drink cart. I order a Budweiser and tell my husband that I’ve decided flying no longer bothers me one bit. He smiles with encouragement.

When we take off, I scan the plane for flight attendants. Firstly because they look like they’ve been teleported from a bygone era, and secondly because their wide smiling expressions of calm make me feel better. They do this all the time, I remember, like everyday. But then there’s turbulence. Now I know that it’s just pockets of differing air pressures and has nothing to do with the safety of the flight, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I know all that, but it still feels like a giant motorized steel tube with wings is dangling around at 35,000 feet, the auto-pilot just deflated, and a bird got sucked through the engine. I hear the ominous tone of the fasten-your-seat-belt sign and subsequent illumination of the alarming red florescent lights, and quickly finish my beer. Moment’s later, the elusive pilot restates the obvious: “Hello folks. Looks like we’re hitting a little patch of turbulence, but it’s nothing to worry about. Please remain seated and enjoy the flight”. I instantly think of a doctor with a giant needle saying, “this might pinch a little, but stay still and it will be over before you know it”. I feel like an idiot, like a lemming following another lemming off the side of a cliff because he told me it would, “only hurt for a second and then be over”.

The muffled clip-clop of red pumps over worn-out blue carpet lurches me back from my rambling conscience. “Chicken or fish?” she asks. I tell her I requested the vegan meal. She purses her lipstick smeared mouth and asks another flight attendant for help. The dreaded vegan meal always throws them for a loop. I never expect to get one, but I always ask, in the very least because it distracts me from the image of myself soaring through the atmosphere in a motorized steel tube with wings and faulty bolts. I end up with a pasta primavera of sorts, glued together with cheese.

Now that you never want to fly ever again, why not stay at home at fry up some delicious fried green tomatoes? My garden is bursting with hard, green tomatoes and since I don’t feel like waiting for them to ripen, fried green tomatoes are the perfect solution! Chickpea flour and brown rice flour provide the breading, while a buttermilk inspired nutmilk mixture help it all stick together.

DSC_0007Fried Green Tomatoes

3 unripe, green tomatoes

For the flour mixture:

1⁄2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1⁄2 cup brown rice flour

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

Large pinch of each: paprika & cayenne pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Black pepper to taste

For the “buttermilk”:

1 cup unsweetened soymilk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

For frying:

1⁄2 cup refined coconut oil

DSC_0009

Combine flour mixture in a small bowl. In another bowl, add soymilk, apple cider vinegar and ground flaxseed, and whisk until somewhat emulsified. Cut tomatoes in 1⁄4 inch slices and dredge one at a time, first in the flour mixture, then in the soymilk mixture, and once more in the flour. Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast iron sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Test the oil with a small pinch of flour; if it bubbles, the oil is ready. Carefully place dredged tomato slices in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove fried tomatoes from the pan and lay on some paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve hot with Dijon mustard or with a vegan tartar sauce. Makes about 12-15 fried green tomatoes, depending on how big the tomatoes are, or enough to feed 5 unicorns with aviatophobia.DSC_0010

the nutmeg cookery is certified! / B12 isn’t a classroom, it’s an essential nutrient

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It’s official…I have completed my certification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell! What does this mean? Basically that I can continue to rant about how bad sugar, dairy and meat are for you, but now when you ask for my credentials I can flash my medieval-lettered certification letter in the air with a cheshire cat grin. I am still in no way a nutritionist, which would have been a much longer road and one that I never want to take. Translation: 2+ years of cinderblock classrooms with stale pencil air and a whole lot of chemistry. I guess I’m more of a learn-online-in-the-privacy-of-my-own-faery-garden kind of girl.

So to mark this milestone, I’m going to talk about my favorite controversial nutrient. The elephant in the room of vegan nutrition, and the go-to deficiency question (after where do you get you protein…see my answer here) of omnivores everywhere. B12 isn’t a classroom, it’s a nutrient manufactured by microorganisms that dwell in the intestines of animals and in the soil. It is an essential nutrient, which means that we cannot produce it ourselves and therefore must ingest it dietarily. In our pre-industrial past, this wasn’t an issue. Translation: we used to eat dirty vegetables…now we have veggie wash and hand sanitizer. We are so damn sanitary that we can no longer supply our bodies with the minute amount of B12 we need. Unfortunately, the anti vegans of the world jump around and excitedly point their chubby fingers at our need for supplementation of B12 as the proof that veganism isn’t “natural” because how could a perfect diet need supplementation? To them I say, what exactly equates a “natural” diet? If natural means raising sentient beings in a torture chamber with a diet of fish meal, corn and soy, then mercilessly slaughtering them, and stuffing their remains in styrofoam and plastic wrap and selling them to the masses for dinner, then yes–vegans are wholly unnatural.

Toast exhibiting the signs of a B12 deficiency...
Toast exhibiting the signs of a B12 deficiency…

The issue is not that the vegan diet is unnatural, it’s that our world is changing. Due to our increased fear of germs and the continuing deluge of pesticides on our crops, we cannot find the B12 we need. It’s similar to the epidemic of the Vitamin D deficiency. Our diets haven’t changed that much, we just don’t go outside anymore!

Solution? Eat dirty veggies and run naked with the unicorns in the sunshine.

P.S. this is the B12 supplement that I take.

P.P.S. this is a picture of some of my buddies.

Image found here

shaving for spring / rawesome lemon bars

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DSC_0337Ah, spring. The time of year when the earth thaws, becomes a mud-luscious wonderland, and bursts with an infinitely varied and beautiful bounty of flowers and food. Oh, yeah…and I have to shave my legs again. Shaving is an odd sort of thing to do. I’ve spent hours debating with fellow earthlings the absurdities of razoring off thousands of little hairs every day for the sake of being feminine or accepted or female or whatever. Newsflash to the male population: women have hair…LIKE ALL OVER THEIR BODY. Crazy, right? We aren’t hairless chihuahuas with pink nails and floral aromas wafting from every orifice like you may have previously believed. The whole advent of shaving was more to do with preventing the spread of disease than aesthetics. But now that we all bathe like crazy and spray the earth with poisons, we are more likely to contract a form of cancer than an infestation of lice. I’m not saying that I never shave, but I don’t like it. Not one bit. And I think we should start a revolution and all be furry beasts together. Amen.

So instead of shaving your legs today, why not use that extra ten minutes to whip up this lovely recipe for rawesome lemon bars? Bursting with lemony goodness and a creamy filling that tastes downright sinful, you will be happy to indulge in this treat while wearing a very long skirt. Hippie.

DSC_0332Rawesome Lemon Bars

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut nectar

Large pinch of sea salt

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups raw pine nuts, soaked for at least an hour but preferably several

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1/4 cup refined coconut oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DSC_0345Gently toast almonds or almond flour in a dry skillet over a low flame until fragrant. Combine crust ingredients in a mixing bowl, then press into square cake pan or pan of choosing. Add the filling ingredients to a high speed blender and puree on high until smooth and whipped. Chill filling in the fridge for 30 minutes, then pour into square pan. Top with more zest, then cover and place in fridge. Tastes best when allowed to chill for an hour or so. Makes enough for 8 unicorns with shaving nicks down their legs.

Toast is loving this dreamy lemon bar
Toast is loving this dreamy lemon bar

DSC_0348