Summer Orzo Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 ear fresh corn
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1-2 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • goat cheese or parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Organic chicken sausage, salmon, or another protein (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Begin by slicing the zucchini, carrot, and mushrooms into thin slices. Chop the bell pepper as well. Shuck the corn, and holding it over a cutting board or plate, slice off the kernals from all sides of the ear of corn.
  2. Begin boiling a medium-size pot of water over high heat. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
  3. While the water is boiling, begin sautéing the vegetables over medium heat. Using about 1 Tbs. of olive oil, sauté the zucchini, bell pepper, and carrots. Add the corn and mushrooms after 5 minutes.
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the orzo and cook for 8-9 minutes, depending on desired texture. 
  5. While the orzo is boiling, continue to stir the vegetables. When the vegetables are softened and start to brown, they can be taken off the heat.
  6. If you have time here, chop the tomatoes in half, and chop the basil leaves into smaller pieces (This can also be done at the end).
  7. When the orzo is cooked through, drain the water and place the orzo in a large bowl. 
  8. Add the sautéed vegetables, tomatoes, basil, 1 Tbs. olive oil, and some crumbled goat cheese or parmesan. Season with salt & pepper to taste. 

This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold. I enjoyed it with salmon burgers and avocado. You could also add some organic chicken sausage, or any other form of protein that sounds delicious to you! 

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Better Than Meatballs

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lentils, cooked
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked in chicken/vegetable broth
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped into tiny bits or food processed
  • 1 bunch green onions (6-8), finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. fresh (or dried) rosemary, chopped*
  • 1 Tbs. fresh (or dried) thyme, chopped*
  • 1 Tbs. fresh (or dried) oregano*
  • 3 cloves minced garlic*
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dairy free or regular parmesan (I've made them without the parmesan, and they're still amazing)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

*If you don't have fresh herbs, you can substitute 1 tsp. of the dried version for 1 Tbs. of a fresh herb. For garlic, about 1 tsp. of garlic powder would substitute for the 3 cloves of garlic. I prefer to use fresh herbs, because fresh always has more flavor!

instructions:

  1. Cook the lentils and brown rice according to instructions (You can also buy precooked of both in order to save time!). While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop the mushrooms, green onions, and fresh herbs.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400. Once the lentils and brown rice are done, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir till well mixed. The mixture will be wet and sticky.
  3. Generously rub olive oil over a large baking sheet. Form bite-size balls out of the mixture, and place on the greased baking sheet. 
  4. Cook for 15 minutes. Take the meatballs out of the oven, flip each one, then place back in the oven to cook for another 10 minutes. (It would also work to leave them in for the full 25 minutes without flipping them. They will just be a little more brown on one side, but still taste great!)
  5. We ate them with spaghetti squash and organic pasta sauce. They would also be great with regular pasta, gluten free pasta, zucchini noodles, pesto, or even on a meatball sandwich!

Spring Market Salad

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FRESH

SEASONAL

LOCAL

FLAVORFUL

COLORFUL

This salad stands out. Go to your local market and find a few herbs, a fresh fruit, some fresh lettuce, and throw it all together. You will be blown away by how it can make your salad go from good to extraordinary. Throw some chicken or fish on there and make it an entire meal! Have fun :D

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 butter lettuce gems, cut in half
  • handful of sorrel leaves, chopped
  • handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 mandarin orange
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3-4 radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced or chopped

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 blood orange
  • 1-2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Remove the herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme) from the stems and chop into small pieces. Slice the radish. Peel and cut the avocado. Peel and separate the mandarin orange slices.
  2. Wash the butter lettuce gems and cut in half. Wash and chop the sorrel.
  3. Arrange the gems on a platter, sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on top.
  4. Combine all of the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the salad.
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Sourdough Bread

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Baking sourdough bread is intimidating. That’s just the truth. However, I’ve found that the more I make it, the easier it gets, and the more fun I have. I’ve probably only baked about 10 batches of sourdough bread in my life, but I wanted to share what I’m learning with you. It is truly so fun and satisfying to bake your own bread, and I just want people to give it a try.

First of all, it’s important to have grace for yourself in the process of making sourdough. There’s so many things that can influence how your bread turns out: temperature, humidity, the activity of your starter, the type of flour you use, etc. No two loaves have ever really looked the same for me. Some are super fluffy and aerated, some are a little more squatty and dense, and some are in between. What they all have in common is that I made them, and I, my family, and friends enjoyed eating every bit of them. Just embrace your loaves however they turn out :)

Second of all, there’s so many different ways to make sourdough out there that it can be overwhelming. Also, a lot of them take so much time and have really long, complicated recipes. I started making sourdough using the “Tartine Basic Country Bread Recipe”, but I’ve played around with it a lot and formulated my own version. I love this recipe because it can be done on pretty much any day off (whereas some take longer), and it’s really simple compared to some other recipes I’ve found online.

Hopefully you can get a sourdough starter from a friend, but if not, you can attempt to make your own (I have tried... and failed... it takes quite a while), or buy one online! Whatever you choose to do, make sure that your starter is bubbly and alive when you start the bread-making process.

Also, USE GOOD FLOUR. It makes such a difference. If you have access to freshly milled flour, then definitely use that. Normally I buy organic bread flour and organic sprouted whole grain flour from Whole Foods or another health foods store. I believe that it really makes a difference in the final product.

This recipe in particular is 80% white flour and 20% whole grain flour. I love making 100% whole grain sourdough, but I use a slightly different process for that which I will be sharing eventually! However, you could easily substitute the bread flour in this recipe for sprouted whole wheat. It will produce a much more dense bread, but still delicious. If you're new to making sourdough, it is easier to start with white flour :)

Here we go!!!

INGREDIENTS

Levain:

  • 2 Tbs. very active starter
  • 200 g. warm water
  • 100 g. all purpose flour
  • 100 g. whole wheat flour

Final Dough:

  • 200 g. levain
  • 700 g. warm water
  • 800 g. bread flour
  • 200 g. whole wheat flour
  • 20 g. salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. BUILD THE LEVAIN

The night before mixing the dough, prepare the levain. Mix the starter, water, and flours together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight.

 
Levain after sitting overnight, about 12 hours

Levain after sitting overnight, about 12 hours

 

2. MIX THE DOUGH

NOTE: If I'm planning on baking the bread the same day, I start this in the morning. If I'm planning on letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight, this can be done in the afternoon.

In a large bowl, mix together 200 g. of the starter and 650 g. of warm water until the starter is somewhat dissolved. Add 800 g. of bread flour and 200 g. of whole wheat flour. Mix with your hands until well combined. Cover, and let rest in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes. 

 
After initially mixing the dough together.

After initially mixing the dough together.

 

3. ADD SALT

After the dough has sat for 30-45 minutes, sprinkle with 20 g. sea salt and the remaining 50 g. of water to help the salt dissolve. Incorporate the salt and water into the dough by stretching and folding. In order to stretch and fold the dough, scrape all the dough from the bottom of the bowl so that you can incorporate everything into the stretch and fold. Lift up the dough from one side, allowing it to stretch upward, then fold the dough in half. Repeat about 5-6 times, rotating sides. 

Before mixing in the salt and water.

Before mixing in the salt and water.

After mixing in the salt and stretching and folding a few times.

After mixing in the salt and stretching and folding a few times.

4. BULK FERMENTATION

Let the dough sit, covered with a towel, for 3 hours. Every 30 minutes, using wet hands, stretch and fold the dough 4 times. You should perform 4 total sets of stretches and folds, spaced roughly 30 minutes apart, then let the dough sit for the remainder of the 3 hours. As you perform sets of stretches and folds, the dough should feel progressively more buoyant and aerated. The dough will go from feeling very sticky and loose to more smooth and tight. 

After the last set of stretches and folds.

After the last set of stretches and folds.

After 3 total hours of bulk fermentation.

After 3 total hours of bulk fermentation.

5. SHAPE LOAVES

After bulk fermentation, gently scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Cut the dough in half. Take a piece of dough and flip onto the floured side. Create a boule by pulling the edges of the dough toward the middle and pinching the ends together in the center of the dough. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Flip back over so the seam side is down. Take a dough scraper, place underneath the dough boule, and gently push away from you then toward you, tucking the bottom under, making the top of the boule tighter.  Cover the boules, and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

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6. PREPARE BASKETS

While the dough is resting, prepare the proofing baskets. I have bannetons, but you can easily use a dish towel resting in a bowl. Sprinkle the proofing basket or dish towel generously with flour.

7. RESHAPE LOAVES

Sprinkle the dough boules with flour, and reshape, following the process used before. Once shaped, place in the proofing baskets seam side up. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours. At this point, you can choose to put the dough in the fridge to let it rise overnight. This will produce a more sour flavor. I usually choose to let it rise for 3-4 hours and bake it the same day. 

Reshape the dough boules.

Reshape the dough boules.

After the 3-4 hour rise.

After the 3-4 hour rise.

Place in the proofing baskets/bowl with a dish towel.

Place in the proofing baskets/bowl with a dish towel.

Dough should be significantly puffier than before and have some large bubbles in it.

Dough should be significantly puffier than before and have some large bubbles in it.

8. BAKE THE BREAD

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, and place your dutch oven inside while it's heating up. Once heated to 500, remove the dutch oven, and turn the heat down to 450. Grease the inside of the dutch oven and sprinkle with flour. Turn the loaf upside down from the proofing basket directly into the dutch oven. Take a sharp knife and cut a large cross on top of the dough. Spray the top of the dough boule with a spray bottle or sprinkle with a few droplets of water using your hands (this will help create steam inside the dutch oven, allowing the bread to rise). Put the lid on the dutch oven, and bake for 30 minutes. It's very important NOT to remove the lid during this time. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown on top. 

9. ENJOY YOUR BREAD

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i really like sourdough

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SOURDOUGH.

I’ve fallen in love with it.

Flour, water, salt, and little living things found in the air. The simplicity yet beautiful mystery of it all blows me away every time I take a steaming, fragrant loaf out of the oven. Most people don’t even realize that sourdough can go far beyond loaves of bread. Have you tried sourdough pizza crust? What about sourdough pancakes? OH… and the waffles. The forms and flavors that a little jar of flour and water can take on is endless.

Yes, most of us can agree that the taste and smell of sourdough are unbeatable, but there’s so much more to this delectable bread than meets the eye, or nose, or taste buds.

Sourdough bread is actually, as we know it, the original leavened bread. We didn’t always have yeast that we could buy in a package at the store. Instead, a prolonged fermentation method was used in which bacteria and yeast from the air caused dough to rise. I’m trying to imagine how in the world someone figured out that leaving flour and water out in the open could make really good bread. Major props to you.

What I truly love about sourdough is not only the art and history behind it, but the fact that it is actually easier for your body to digest than other forms of bread. The prolonged fermentation process gives your body a huge head start in the digestion of grains. Grains contain an antinutrient called phytic acid, which binds to important minerals, blocking their absorption. Studies show that the acidification of dough during sourdough fermentation significantly breaks down phytic acid, allowing the enzymes in your stomach to properly do their job. Nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc become more readily available for your body. Many people that are gluten intolerant find that they can consume sourdough bread because of this process. Sourdough is also a prebiotic, which helps support the gut microbiome.

I went a step further in increasing the nutrient availability in my sourdough bread by using sprouted grains. Sprouted grains, as the name implies, are whole grain seeds that have been allowed to sprout but not fully grow into plants yet. The sprouting of a grain increases the amount of protein and nutrients available in the grain. Sprouting also lowers levels of phytic acid, making nutrients more available.

I have a challenge for you. Look at the ingredient list on the next loaf of bread you buy. If it's full of words that you don't understand, maybe don't buy it this time. Instead, look for bread that contains words that you know and understand in the ingredient list. Most sourdough breads have minimal ingredients: flour, water, sourdough starter, salt. NO preservatives. NO sugar. NO weird words that you can't pronounce. Food for Life makes a wonderful bread called Ezekiel 4:9 bread that is found in most stores. The ingredient list? Full of real food.

If you want to go a step further and start making your own sourdough bread, I will be posting a blog post on how I do it tomorrow! I'm still learning, so maybe you want to learn with me :) ask around and see if anyone you know has a starter they can share with you! You can also make your own starter (there are tons of tutorials online), or purchase one at a store or online.

Sourdough Starter Link:

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/classic-fresh-sourdough-starter-1-oz?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=Shopping&utm_keyword=Classic+Fresh+Sourdough+Starter+-+1+oz&gclid=CjwKCAjw4sLVBRAlEiwASblR-7UZa7VNIITkJBsyT1zMwcHSpk4A87C6kfCl8hLnDAcxG3QT_seyLRoCJY0QAvD_BwE

 
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Veggie Tacos w/ Mango Salsa

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"These are the best tacos I've ever had" - Sid Beck, my husband.

If that's not enough for you to try these out... Well, your loss.

If I'm being honest, I didn't really measure out any of the spices while I was making these. I gave the ingredient list my best guess, but you can't really go THAT wrong with spices. Hopefully they will turn out just as amazing for you as they did for us :) 

 
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There's something so special about the sweet and savory flavors of these tacos. The mango salsa and the creamy cilantro sauce perfectly compliment the sautéed vegetables and spices used in the recipe. If you want more protein, feel free to add some grilled chicken, fish, or beans. Any protein choice would taste amazing with the salsa and cilantro sauce!

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Tacos:

  • 1 Poblano chili, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2-3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 2 Tbs. avocado, coconut, or olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cube the sweet potatoes, drizzle with 1 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, and salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes, or until soft.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, chop the poblano chili, the bell peppers, the red onion, and the mushrooms. Sauté the chili, peppers, and onion in 1-2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp, oregano, 2 tsp. cumin, and 1 Tbs. oil. 
  3. Once the peppers and onion are soft, about 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Mango Salsa: 

  • 1 organic mango
  • 1/4 c. red onion, chopped
  • 2 organic tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Chop the mango, red onion, and tomatoes into small pieces. Chop the cilantro and add everything to a bowl.
  2. Drizzle with the lime juice and a few dashes of salt and pepper.

Creamy Cilantro Sauce:

  • 1/2 plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • water to thin
  1. Chop the cilantro and mix in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Add small amounts of water until desired consistency.

Cauliflower Steaks with Beetroot Sauce

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CAULIFLOWER STEAK?

I always thought that "cauliflower steaks" sounded pretty awful. How could you replace meat with a white vegetable? Well, I actually had never tried it before this, and even though it's not exactly steak, it is still DELICIOUS. After slicing the head of cauliflower, I only came up with about three "steak" looking slices while the rest fell into pieces, but that's the beauty of this recipe! You can use cauliflower florets, steaks, or even cauliflower rice as your base. Whatever you have on hand will work.

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Here's why I'm a believer in cauliflower steaks. Cauliflower is a superfood. It's packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It's even been known to contain compounds that help prevent cancer, along with other cruciferous vegetables. Cauliflower is a real food that will benefit your body in real ways. Why not find a way to make it more interesting? So, I came up with this recipe for you :)

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Cauliflower Steaks:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Toppings:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 small bunch swiss chard, kale, or spinach

Beetroot Sauce:

  • 3-4 cooked beets (I found pre-cooked beets at Whole Foods. Makes the recipe 10x easier)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (or any white bean)
  • 1/4 c. tahini (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Carefully slice the cauliflower into "steaks". It crumbles easily, but small pieces are totally ok. Rub the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for 15 minutes. Gently turn over the cauliflower pieces and roast for another 15 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower steaks are cooking, chop the onion, mushrooms, and swiss chard. Start by sautéing the onions with a little olive oil. After about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and leafy greens. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, or until everything is done to your liking. 
  3. Finally, throw all of the sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and well-combined. 
  4. Once the cauliflower is done, top with the sautéd toppings and a drizzle of the beetroot sauce. 
  5. Enjoy! If you want more protein, add some roasted organic chicken or sausage. 

The Best Dip of Your Life

 
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This one's honestly a winner. It's unbelievably easy and it goes with almost anything: roasted vegetables, fries, crackers, wraps, yum bowls, savory pancakes, and so much more. This appetizer recipe in particular can make you feel fancy without even trying. I was inspired to make these carrots and dip after a friend made something similar at her house. The sauce is a spin on the tahini sauce that I normally make. The greek yogurt adds a lighter, creamier consistency that is so fulfilling. Try it out this week!

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Herb Roasted Carrots:

  • 1 bunch colorful carrots
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/4 c. tahini
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt (substitute with coconut yogurt)
  • 1/4 medium lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic (can replace with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the carrots lengthwise, coat in olive oil, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. 
  2. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft.
  3. While the carrots are baking, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Add more water if you want a thinner sauce. 

Chickpea Brown Rice Burgers

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I love how versatile veggie burgers are. You can eat them on a bun, on a piece of toast, on salad, or just plain. They also taste delicious with a wide array of toppings, such as avocado, sauces, tomatoes, etc. This particular veggie burger recipe has a simply, earthy flavor. They freeze really well, and make a super quick and easy meal. You can basically eat them with anything you have in your fridge at the moment! 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 c. pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa (you can cook your own, but I bought a pre-cooked package from the store to save time).
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 c. mushrooms
  • 3/4 c. walnuts or pecans
  • 4-6 cloves minced garlic (or 1/2-3/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dill (sub with turmeric or coriander for another flavor variation)
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp. each)

Directions:

  1.  Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop all of the ingredients and mash with a potato masher or fork.
  2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and slightly crispy. 

GF Apple Carrot Pecan Muffins

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I'm currently working at a coffee shop. It's not necessarily what I expected I would be doing post-graduation. There have been many days where I've questioned the purpose of my life while wiping coffee-stained hands onto my blue jeans, picking up yet another pitcher of milk, and watching the bubbles rise and then disappear into the white whirlpool. Michael wants his daily medium latte, and I get to be the one that pours foamy milk into caramel-colored espresso, form a decent rosetta, and hand it over with a smile.

I know that I won't be here forever. I'm finishing school and a new wedding photography season is coming up. Even though it's short-lived, I don't want to look back on this time as a waste. How can I make these countless interactions and mindless tasks mean more? I'm so much more than what I do, and I want that to be apparent in the way that I live. 

Career, vocation, purpose... It's a lifelong journey. I will admit that I used to think it was an educational one. You get your degree, figure out who you want to be, and the rest just sort of... well... happens? Fortunately, I'm learning that's most definitely not the way it is. If it was, we wouldn't be nearly as strong or our stories nearly as interesting. 

I'm trying to take what I have and where I am, and let it teach me something. Something that is not merely wasted time. Something that will be valuable to who I am now and where I am going. How will we get anywhere if we don't learn from the seemingly insignificant spaces in between the big moments?

I guess the reason I started talking about all of this is because of apple carrot pecan muffins. The chef at the coffeeshop makes them, and this recipe was inspired slightly by her brilliance. I don't know what she puts in hers besides apples, carrots, and pecans, but I wanted to make my own healthy version.

 
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I used gluten free flours, and they are only sweetened with a banana and a small amount of maple syrup. These muffins are guilt-free and full of good things for you. The absolute best part is that they actually. taste. amazing. They're not dry, bland healthy muffins. They are moist, sweet, and flavorful healthy muffins. You have got to try them.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c. oats, blended or food processed into flour
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour (you can sub any regular or gluten free flour for the coconut flour and almond meal)
  • 1/4 c. almond meal
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 apple
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. oil (I used 1/2 coconut and 1/2 avocado oil)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. almond milk (or any other milk/milk alternative)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the apple and then carrots until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl. Add the mashed banana, egg, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and almond milk. Stir until well combined
  3. In a separate bowl (or the same bowl), add the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and pecans. Stir until well combined.
  4. Scoop into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Enjoy plain, with butter, or with a smear of almond butter :)

Pumpkin spice bread (gf)

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In my twenty-two years of life, Christmas has always been a time of togetherness, warmth, delightful smells, delicious food, cold weather, cozy fires, and searching for snow when we don't have it outside our doors. Unlike the traditions and rhythms of holiday seasons past, this Christmas has been marked by change and newness. It can be hard to find the Christmas spirit when family is far away, fires are raging in our backyard, and suppressing smoke and ash fills the air. I'm learning how to bring the Christmas spirit to life in my heart, apart from the people and environment that I am so used to.

The name "Fresh Roots" has more meaning to me now than I ever thought it would. I created the name because of my belief in a whole food, plant-filled lifestyle, but it holds a much deeper meaning now. Uprooting our lives in Washington and moving to Santa Barbara, I have been learning how to grow my own fresh roots in an entirely new place and community of people. It's a process. A slow one. However, there are things that make me feel grounded and at home in the midst of change. One of those things being food. 

The process, the creativity, the smells, the tastes; the whole experience feels welcoming and nourishing to me.

It's something that is always familiar through different seasons.

Food can transport me back to a cherished memory in an instant, and it can create something beautiful around a new table. Around the table is found laughter, conversation, and the sharing of hearts. 

Food connects you to the place that you are in and the people around you.

I am slowly sinking fresh roots into this Santa Barbara earth, and food, in its nourishment, joy, and the shared experiences it brings, is  helping me grow.

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This is one of those recipes that brought me back to old memories. Back to when my mom, sisters and I would spend hours baking cookies and bread for friends and family members as Christmas gifts. I created this pumpkin spice bread in an attempt to bring the smells and tastes of Christmas to my world, but in a healthier and more satisfying way.

It's perfectly sweet, moist, and full of flavor.

It's gluten-free.

AND the only sugar in this recipe comes from real maple syrup.

What I love about this recipe is that you can use it for so many things: pumpkin cake, pumpkin muffins, or pumpkin bread!

Add dark chocolate chips, add nuts, add grated carrot, or add all three. I chose to put a thin layer of maple cream cheese frosting on mine. Be creative with it :) 

pumpkin spice cake.jpg
 
pumpkin spice cake-4.jpg
 

Time: About 1 hour

Serves: 12

dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. oat flour
  • 1/2 c. almond flour
  • 1/2 c. gluten free flour blend
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, cloves, & allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

wet ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/3 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. real maple syrup
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree

cream cheese frosting:

  • cream cheese
  • splash of maple syrup

 

 

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Beat with a whisk until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips or chopped nuts if desired.
  6. If baking in a cake pan, bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean when poked in the middle.
  7. If baking muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.
  8. If baking bread, bake for 55-60 minutes.
  9. To make the frosting, beat the maple syrup and cream cheese with an electric mixture until a smooth consistency. Add maple syrup until desired sweetness.