Cheesy Buffalo Chickpea Dip

Twas the afternoon of 4/20

And all through the house

Every stomach was growling

Especially that of my spouse

The bowls were loaded

By my boyfriend with care

We smoked to oblivion

But the hunger was still there

I arose from the couch

To prepare a quick snack

I grabbed a can of chickpeas

And shredded some Colby Jack

A dollop of mayo

And a dash of Frank’s sauce

A sprinkle of spices

This dip is REALLY BOSS!

 

cheesybuffalodip

Ingredients (Organic, when possible):

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo**
  • 1/8 cup Frank’s hot sauce (original)**
  • 1 tsp garlic powder**
  • 1 tsp salt**
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper**
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup Colby Jack, shredded (or vegan substitute)

**These measurements are approximate as I did not actually measure. Please adjust according to your flavor preference.

dip

Start by draining your chickpeas and pulsing with a food processor a few times. You are going for a chunky texture, so don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with hummus. (Which is still yummy but not what we are going for here.πŸ˜‰ ) Put the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and add the mayo, hot sauce, spices, and diced veg. Adjust the flavorings as needed. Add half of the cheese to the dip and stir to combine well. Pour into a small casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until cheese on top is browned and the dip is bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

dipping

This dip can be served with chips, veggie sticks, or toasted bread. (I served it with my homemade sourdough boule, but that’s another story…) This dip is also great cold, wrapped up in a tortilla, on a sandwich, or atop a salad! Any way you choose to eat it, this dip is sure satisfy those intense munchies. Enjoy!πŸ˜‰

❀ Samantha

 

 

 

 

Seaforth & Conquer (Lace Knitting)

The Seaforth is a lovely lace hat pattern on Ravelry written by designer Karie Westermann. The free pattern works up fast with squishy, worsted weight wool. (I knit mine in just 2 days!) The easy lace repeats, both written out & charted, would be perfect for novice lace knitters! The result is a stylish slouchy hat that would be awesome year round!

seaforth

This hat might look complicated, but I assure you – it’s not. If you can yo, ssk, & k2tog – you can definitely knit this stunning hat!! I made the following simple modifications in knitting my Seaforth (in the smaller size). I prefer a longer brim on my slouchy hats, so I knit the K2P2 ribbing to 2.75 inches instead of the recommended 10 rows. I then followed the chart and knit the lace section 7 times. The hat measured approximately 7 inches when I began the decreases. Decrease as written for your chosen size and bind off as directed.

seaforth1

The yarn I used for this project is Madelinetosh Vintage in the discontinued colorway “Saffron.” I lucked out and won this gorgeous hank in a giveaway on Instagram by @iknit2purl2 with a variety of other lovely yarns (thanks again!!)! This yarn is super soft, squishy, and a joy to look at! Other yarns I would recommend for this project include Malabrigo Rios (as suggested by the designer and one of my favorites) and Knit Picks Swish Worsted (a great, budget-friendly option!).

seaforth2

I hope you enjoy knitting a Seaforth of your own! Seaforth and conquer lace knitting!

❀ Samantha

 

Chickpea Cakes w/ Vegan Tartar Sauce

I have been a vegetarian for almost 10 years now, yet I still get the same old “But don’t you miss ___?” interrogations from time to time. Truth is, I don’t really miss anything. I was never a huge fan of meat, despite the fact that I came from a hugely carnivorous family. I’ve never been hunting, even though my father took my sisters on more occasions than I can remember. I would stay home with my mom, watching Cleopatra and painting our toenails.

Fishing, hunting’s aquatic cousin, was also not a favorite hobby of mine. I remember long nights spent on the pier at Goose Island State Park where my oldest sister would fish for hours with my dad. While my middle sister would try to get boys to check her out, my mom and I would perform autopsies on recently caught bait like small fish & squid. A favorite memory was when she turned a fish into a puppet with clear fishing line and would make him talk to passers by.

Even back then, I was never a huge fan of seafood. The only kind I would eat was the bland, white fish that didn’t actually taste like fish (or anything really). You know, like fish sticks or the stuff at Luby’s. The only exceptions were crab cakes and my mom’s salmon patties, which I mostly liked for their crunchy exterior. These chickpea cakes are a nod to those breaded patties, in complete vegan form served with an easy, animal-free tartar sauce!

Chickpea Cakes with Vegan Tartar Sauce

chickpeacake1

Chickpea Cake Ingredients (organic, when possible):

  • 1 can chickpeas, pulsed w/ aquafaba reserved
  • 2 tbs aquafaba, save the rest for breading
  • 1 tbs vital wheat gluten
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus more for breading
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp each dried dill & parsley
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

*You will also need approximately 1 cup each flour, aquafaba, and panko for breading and enough oil (I used olive) to cover at least 1/2 – 1 inch deep in your frying vessel.

Tartar Sauce Ingredients (organic, when possible):

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/3 cup diced dill pickles or relish
  • 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes

Simply mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge until ready to serve!

Instructions:

Separate the aquafaba from the chickpeas by straining over a bowl and set aside. Place chickpeas in a food processor and pulse a few times to get a chunky consistency. You can alternatively use a fork or potato masher to get a similar texture. Pour into a larger bowl and add remaining ingredients. Use your hands to distribute evenly, then form into 4 equal-sized cakes or patties. Place cakes on a parchment lined plate and put in the freezer for 10 minutes or more. This will make the cakes hold their shape better when you bread & fry them.

chickpeacake2

Once the cakes are hardened slightly, you will begin the breading process. Pour enough oil to cover at least 1/2 deep in your frying vessel and preheat to medium high. Put the flour, aquafaba, and panko in separate, shallow bowls and season each with salt & pepper.

breading

Dip your cake into the flour first, followed by a dip in aquafaba. I like to follow this by another dip in flour (this will ensure the cake is completely enclosed by your breading), then aquafaba again. Finally, you can dip into the panko and place into the hot oil. Repeat this for all 4 cakes. Fry on either side until golden brown and cooked through. Then place cakes on a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. Serve with tartar sauce & fries!:)

chickpeacake

I hope you enjoy this fish-free alternative! Remember, fish are friends.. Not Food!πŸ˜‰

~Samantha

 

 

 

 

Butter Than Ever Cinnamon Rolls

I have a confession. Even though I write a food blog, I rarely ever read them. In fact, I usually skim over all the personal bloggy parts and go straight to the ingredients list. That’s what I’m there for. Show me your ingredients and send me on my way.

More often than not, that’s all I need. I usually don’t bother to read the instructions. Cooking is very instinctive for me. However, sometimes a recipe will throw me off because one ingredient is listed in the full amount that will later be divided for different parts of the recipe.

This, my dears, is how this recipe came to be. The original recipe lists a stick of butter. The stick of butter is supposed to be divided.. 3 tbs IN the dough, the rest on top. I, not bothering to read the instructions – as usual, melted the entire stick of butter with my nut milk (this actually happened twice with the same recipe, I never learn..). Not wanting to waste food, I went with it and was really impressed with the outcome. It might not be the healthiest recipe I’ve shared, but damn, is it delicious.πŸ˜€

butterthanever

Ingredients (aka what you’re here forπŸ˜‰ ) (Organic, when possible)

Dough:

  • 1 stick butter, melted with
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use coconut, cashew, or almond)
  • 3 cups AP flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast

Cinnamon Center:

  • 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-3 tbs cinnamon (or to taste)
  • Optional (but amazing!!): 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I used almonds)

Melt the butter with milk of choice. Allow to cool slightly (you don’t want it to be so hot it kills the yeast). Mix flour, salt, and brown sugar. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Slowly add milk/butter to form a soft dough. (I use my KitchenAid with dough attachment. This could also be done in a food processor or by hand.) Knead briefly & allow to rest 1 hour.

cinrolAfter the dough has risen, you will roll it out onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle (approximately 12″ x 18″). Rub the butter on the rectangle, followed by the cinnamon & sugar. I like to use my hands and massage the butter/cinnamon/sugar mixture all over the dough, making sure it extends from end to end. Add nuts if desired. Now, starting with a longer side of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough into a long cylinder and softly pinch the ends. Slice the dough into 9 even portions. Place dough portions in a buttered baking dish with plenty of space surrounding each roll. (You can alternatively bake on a parchment lined baking sheet.) Allow to rise again for 15 minutes.

prebakedrolls

Bake cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned on top. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, you can make the glaze. I’ve created a simple, yummy glaze; However, next time I make these I’ll definitely plan ahead and do a cream cheese icing. They deserve it.:)

Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tbs milk of choice
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp almond extract

Mix all ingredients together, add more sugar or milk as needed for desired consistency. Pour 1/2 of the glaze over cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Save the rest of the glaze to dress the rolls just prior to serving.

cinnamonrolls

I hope you enjoy these delectable cinnamon rolls! And don’t worry, it won’t hurt my feelings if you skipped over all my bloggy bits.πŸ˜‰

❀ Samantha

Perfect Neapolitan Pizza & Sundried Tomato Marinara

The past decade, I’ve been on a search for the perfect pizza crust recipe. I’ve always been partial to thin, crusty Neapolitan style pizzas, and have tried many techniques to achieve such a crust. For years, I tested different types of flour, short and long fermentation times, various pizza stones and pans, yet I never found the chewy, crunchy crust that I longed for.

A few years ago, I shared this recipe for pizza dough, which is a nice dough if you like a softer crust with a decent chew. It also works great when you fry it first, to achieve a ‘Totino’s’ style pizza. However, it is just not the Neapolitan crust of my pizza fantasies.

pizzafantasy

Enter 00 flour. While I’d seen it mentioned on Food Network a time or two, I never really gave much thought to trying it. How big of a difference could a finer ground flour make? The answer, ALL OF IT!

I purchased my first bag of 00 flour a few months ago and followed the recipe on the side of the package. I didn’t expect much, especially considering the short rising time they recommended. If I know anything about proper bread baking, it’s that a longer fermentation (aka rise) time, the better (crunchier.. chewier..) the outcome.

00flour

I went forth with my 00 experiment, and ended up being floored by the results. FINALLY I had achieved the Neapolitan style thin, crunchy crust that satisfied every pizza loving cell in my body! AND IT ONLY TOOK AN HOUR!!! Pizza gods rejoice!πŸ˜€

neapolitanpizza

Ingredients (organic, when possible):

  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) 00 flour
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (I use coconut sugar)
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups water (Cold water is fine)

Begin by mixing the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Slowly add water and mix to create a dough. I use my stand mixer with the dough attachment, but you could easily do this by hand if KNEAD be. (Sorry, I can’t not pun)πŸ˜‰

doughballs

Allow to rise for 15 minutes. Separate the dough into 4 equal portions. I like to weigh them out so they are all even, but you can always eyeball it. At this point, I put two of the dough balls into Ziploc bags and stick them straight in the freezer. (This dough freezes & thaws beautifully, so I like to always have a few frozen ones ready to go.) Allow the remaining 2 dough balls to rise for another 30 minutes. Set oven to 500 degrees F (or as hot as you can).

While they are rising, you can make my favorite marinara! Now, I know that traditionally Neapolitan pizzas use crushed tomatoes as the ‘sauce,’ but I prefer to use a homemade marinara. There’s really two reasons for this; 1: my boyfriend doesn’t like tomatoes when they are chunky, and 2: this marinara is soooo delicious I’ll use any excuse to eat it!πŸ˜€

sundriedtomatomarinara

Ingredients (organic, if possible):

  • 1/4 large onion (any color), diced
  • 2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, diced
  • 12 pieces sundried tomatoes (in oil), diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Begin by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until translucent, then add the sundried tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the entire can of tomato paste, along with 2 cups of water. Mix well. At this point, I use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients. You could alternatively use a stand up blender. After the marinara is pureed, add the seasonings and mix well. You can now remove from heat and pour into a jar for storage. Keep on the counter until sauce reaches room temperature prior to refrigeration. Marinara will keep in the fridge for a week or so, or you can freeze it for long term storage.

saucing

Now that your dough has risen, oven’s preheated, and marinara has been made, you are ready to assemble your delicious pizzas! Stretch the dough to form a disc and place disc on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or pizza stone. Top evenly with your yummy marinara and add whatever cheeses and toppings your little heart desires. Bake at 500 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

pizzayum

I’ve made this pizza many times now, and it is a no fail, quick, and easy recipe to use! It would really shine in a pizza oven, as I’m still unable to get the charred crust that can only come from a proper wood-fired pizza oven. Maybe one day….:)

Ciao for now!

No Soak 4 Hour Crock Pot Pinto Beans & Fat Free Vegan ‘Refried’ Beans

If you’ve ever cooked dry beans from scratch, you’ve probably heard the urban cooking legend that you must always soak the beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Supposedly, soaking helps the texture of the beans and magically helps prevent flatulence. I’m here to tell you, this is simply not true. It’s a waste of time and serves absolutely no purpose. There’s no evidence that soaking beans improves texture, and it certainly doesn’tΒ  decrease the gaseous properties (wishful thinking, perhaps?). In fact, soaking can actually reduce the flavor profile of the beans greatly. (Don’t buy it? Here is a more in depth article complete with foodie experiments.) So save your time and effort with this easy crock pot pinto bean recipe.

wholebeans

This recipe calls for pinto beans, however, you can really substitute any dry bean. Keep in mind though, other beans might have shorter cooking times (like garbanzo) or slightly longer (like Adzuki). The spices I recommend are traditional Tex-Mex spices, and work well whether you decide to keep the beans whole in their liquid or mash them to make ‘refried’ style beans. Feel free to switch up the spices to your liking!

No Soak 4 Hour Crock Pot Pinto Beans & Fat Free Vegan ‘Refried’ Beans

Ingredients, organic and local (when possible):

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs concentrated veggie stock (I love the organic Better Than Bouillon stock)
  • 6 cups filtered water

beancollage

Add all ingredients to a large crock pot and cook on high heat for 4 hours. Check beans for doneness, they should be nice and tender, not overly soft.

donebeans

 

 

At this point, you can add your Tex-Mex style spices and flavorings. I used:

  • 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

Now, remove beans from heat and separate into two different containers. I decided to keep half of the beans whole with their liquid, to use later in the week for one of my favorite dishes: pinto beans & cheese dumplings. I’ll share that recipe soon.:)

beansyummy

For the remaining half, I separated the beans from their liquid and smashed them with a potato masher. Add bean liquid as needed until you reach the desired texture. Wah-lah! Vegan fat free ‘refried’ beans!! Perfect for all your refried bean needs, including molletes, enchiladas, and of course, my ultimate comfort food: bean & cheese tacos! YUM!

tacosss

Cooking dry beans in large batches like this can save you tons of money long-term. This recipe can also be cut in half or doubled per your cooking needs. Leftover beans can be kept refrigerated, frozen, or even canned for longer storage. I hope you enjoy this recipe and look forward to sharing more!πŸ˜€

❀ Samantha, FCF

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Red Kuri Squash & Pumpkin Quickbread and All Things Autumn.

At the risk of sounding like every other basic white girl in the Northern Hemisphere, I love autumn. Everything about it in fact. Every basic thing, like the changing colors of the leaves, the chill in the air, the ability to wear hoodies and hand knits. And of course, all things pumpkin + spice.

Rather than just run to the nearest Starbucks, I prefer to make my own pumpkin spice goodness. Already this season, I’ve baked a from-scratch pumpkin pie, made pumpkin spice smoothies, & of course, tried my hand at my very own PSL (pumpkin spice latte for you non-basic white girls). The following recipe is super fall festive, because not only does it contain our beloved pumpkin (and plenty of spice!), but I’ve added extra autumn oomph by including Red Kuri squash.

redkuripumpkinyarn

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  Red Kuri Squash & Pie Pumpkin Pictured with my Hand Dyed, Handspun Wool.

I’ve never eaten Red Kuri before, but I love trying new squash when I see them at the market. My boyfriend, an avid squash avoider, refuses to eat most of the squash I bring home. Unless, of course, I trick him into it. This recipe is another attempt in making my bf reform his views on certain squash. (I swear, I will never give up trying to make him a squash convert.) He gladly and willingly ate this quickbread and there were no complaints. Seems as long as I hide the squash in baked goods or mac’n’cheese, my man can be amenable.πŸ˜‰

Vegan Red Kuri & Pumpkin Quickbread

redkuribread

This recipe was originally all pumpkin, I just added Red Kuri to try it out. You can always do this same process with a pie pumpkin instead of the squash. If you want to do ALL Red Kuri, I’d advise using 2 squash.

Ingredients (all organic & local, when possible):

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I use unflavored, non-sweetened coconut milk)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 15 oz red kuri squash and/or pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • handful of sprouted pumpkin seeds (optional but awesome!)

First thing you’ll want to do is roast the squash & pumpkin. I do this by carefully cutting them in half and removing the seeds from inside. Scrape the inside clean with a spoon and rinse the seeds if you intend to roast them later. Coat both sides of the squash with oil and roast for about 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Allow the squash/pumpkin to cool and then scoop out the flesh.

redkuriraostpureeAdd the flesh and all liquid ingredients to your blender to puree for several seconds. Pour the liquid mixture into a bowl and add the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Pour into a bread pan (I line mine with parchment to make it easier to remove the bread after baking. Bonus, it keeps the pan clean, too!) and top with sprouted pumpkin seeds.

unbakedBake at 350 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing the parchment and cooling on a baker’s rack. When the bread is sufficiently cooled off, you can slice & enjoy!

squashbread

Happy Fall, Y’all!

XO Samantha

Not Quite Traditional Vegan Kimchi & Other Forays into Fermenting

I’ve been on a fermented food kick lately. It started with pickles. I made a few batches several months ago and immediately noticed an increase in my energy when I ate them. After feeling really sluggish the past year or so, this instant pick-me-up left me wanting more. Next, I sought out a SCOBY to get back into continuous brewing kombucha. It’s been a couple years since I last brewed, and I am really not sure why I ever quit!

kombucha

I’ve been on the booch for about 2 months now, and holy cow, I think this change is here for good! When I drink kombucha first thing in the morning (which is when my body craves it), I feel clear headed and energized. Better energy than I could ever get from coffee or some chemical energy drink. (Coffee makes me jittery, anxious, and panicky.. And I stopped drinking chemicals ages ago for health reasons. Mostly, I felt like they were going to make my heart explode!) Aside from this clean energy, I feel like I am digesting my food better and getting deeper sleep at night. The effects have been great and as a bonus, the taste is just delicious!

Since I’ve caught the fermenting bug again, I’ve joined various fermentation groups on Facebook. These groups are just awesome! It’s a place where a bunch of weirdo foodies like me can express our love and share our recipes of yummy aged concoctions! It’s fun and a little addicting. Thanks to these groups, I am dying to try my hand at brewing Jun (a fermented drink similar to kombucha, but it’s made with green tea and honey instead of black tea with sugar) and am anxiously awaiting the end of next month when my fermented honey garlic will be ready to eat!

honeygarlic

One of my all-time favorite ferments is Korean kimchi. I love spicy foods and kimchi really fits the bill. However, traditional kimchi is not vegetarian (it usually contains either fish sauce or salted dried shrimp), so I typically have to make it myself. I don’t mind though, because it’s relatively simple to make and really worth the time & effort!

Not Quite Traditional Vegan Kimchi

kimchi

All ingredients are organic & local (if possible).

  • 1 head Napa cabbage (You can really use any kind of cabbage. I love using red cabbage, too!)
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • filtered H2O

Chop the cabbage, place in a large bowl, and coat evenly with sea salt. Add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to sit at room temperature 24-48 hours. Drain and rinse cabbage well. Shake dry and add to a large bowl. Add the following ingredients:

  • 3 large daikon radishes (shredded, I used my food processor)
  • 6 rainbow carrots (2 of each color: red, orange, yellow; shredded)
  • 4 green onions (diced)
  • 1 sm yellow onion (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 inch knob of fresh garlic (minced)
  • 2 habanero peppers (sliced)
  • 3 tbs Gochugaru (Korean red pepper)
  • 1/4 cup Garlic Chili Paste (prepared condiment from the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 2-3 tbs tamari
  • 1/4 cup filtered H2O
  • 2 tbs turbinado sugar

kimchicrackers

You will want to wear gloves and use your hands to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pack mixture tightly into quart sized jars and make sure there is enough liquid on top to cover all of the ingredients. Leave at least 1 inch of head space at the top of each jar. You can now cover loosely with the lid or use an airlock device. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days minimum (I keep mine in a bowl or Tupperware in case of leakage). At 3 days, taste your kimchi. If you’d like it a bit more sour, you can leave it a couple more days at room temp. Otherwise, you can move it to your fridge and start eating it!

Aside from eating it straight from the jar, I love to eat kimchi in soup or atop Asian style noodles. It is also delicious in quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches (trust me on this). It’s also great on top of water crackers with goat cheese. However you decide to eat yours, I truly hope you enjoy it!!πŸ˜€

kimchitoast

Happy fermenting!

Avocado Superfood Lassi

I love avocados. There is no denying it. It’s odd that I am so ‘avocadobsessed’ since more than half of my life (thus far) I completely loathed the stoned fruit. I wriggled my nose when someone asked me if I wanted guacamole on my taco. I gagged when I saw people eating the green flesh with nothing but a spoon. (A delicacy to me now..) Avocados were nasty and I wanted abso-friggen-lutely NOTHING to do with them!

avocado

It’s funny how your taste buds change as you get older. Once distasteful fruits like avocado and tomato became loyal kitchen companions. Vegetables such as fennel, leeks, and onions that once insulted my palate, now provide me with much aromatic amusement. Foods I never thought I could enjoy (tempeh? algae? chia??) are now staples in my overflowing food storage. And I love it.:)

Today, I want to share with you a delicious use for your green-fleshed friends. One that you might have overlooked!

lassi1

I love green smoothies, anyone that is friend’s with me on Facebook can tell you that. They’ve been a common breakfast staple for me for many years. They leave me vibrant and full of energy. When I drink them daily, I really notice a change in my vibration. My face is clear and dewy, my skin is elastic and well nourished.. I feel young, alive, and happy!!

My green smoothies all have a similar structure: Handful of greens, handful of fresh and/or frozen fruit, nut milk, superfood add-ins (like chia, hemp seeds, or spirulina), and lastly, something soft to “smooth” it all together! Most days, the ‘soft’ portion is fulfilled by the humble banana. It provides the perfect base for most of my smoothies. However, sometimes a girl wants to switch it up! That’s why this meal was created!πŸ˜€

Avocado Superfood Lassi

A Lassi is a traditional Indian beverage containing yogurt. For a completely vegan version, you can omit the yogurt (or use a vegan version) & substitute maple syrup for the honey.πŸ˜‰

lassi4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 dollop organic yogurt (bonus points for local and/or homemade!)
  • Handful mixed greens (mine had baby kale, spinach, and chard)
  • 1 Tbs raw, local honey
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp fresh or ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • About 1 cup homemade coconut milk

Put all ingredients into a blender and give it a whirl. I use the NutriBullet and it is nothing short of amazing. Seriously just as good as a Vitamix for a fraction of the cost. If you’re poor like me, I highly recommend getting one. (And I’ve not been paid to endorse this product. I just really dig it!!)

lassi3

This Lassi is so yummy! The avocado & yogurt make it the smoothest smoothie you’ll have ever tasted! And I can promise you, YOU CAN’T TASTE THE GREENS!πŸ˜‰

lassi2

Enjoy! xo

*This post has been shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Perfect Poolish Baguettes

Let me first start by stating the obvious. I haven’t written since April. APRIL! I seriously cannot believe how fast the months are flying by. Things in my life are changing at such a rapid pace, I can hardly keep up! There are many exciting things on the horizon and I simply cannot wait!!

Allow me to get you up to speed with what I’ve been doing in my reclusive, non-writing state. I was taught to loom knit on New Year’s Eve this year (err.. last year?) and since then I have grown quite addicted to it. I am either knitting, or thinking about knitting, the majority of my days. I am currently making some baby cocoons for a few dear friends that are pregnant. I just LOVE making baby stuff. It’s adorable and since it’s so small, it works up super quick. Loom knitting has definitely given me that creative, stress-relieving outlet I’ve longed for. Here are a handful of items I’ve made.

loomknitting

I have some hats available for sell on Etsy and will be adding more items as time goes by. If you’d like to request a custom order, or like what you see, feel free to contact me!:)

In addition to loom knitting like a fiend, I’ve been cooking and baking some amazing meals. Don’t worry, I have plenty of recipes and pictures to share! My most recent obsession is with bread, go figure. Do you know how incredibly EASY it is to make artisan French baguettes at home? I sure didn’t. But now I’m making them like a pro! I’ll never buy a store-bought baguette again!!

The process is time consuming, however, the actual hands on work is very minimal. You start with a pre-ferment, or starter. The French version is called a Poolish (named after the method of pre-fermentation brought by Polish bakers to France in the early 1900s), and that is what we will be using today. There are other types of pre-ferments, namely Biga (similar in form to Poolish but used in Italian baking) and the most common, sourdough. Let’s get started.πŸ˜€

Perfect Poolish Baguettes

poolishbaguette

Adapted from a variety of sources, mostly here and here.

You need:

For the Poolish:

  • 1 cup quality, filtered water
  • 1 cup organic unbleached white flour (other types of flour can be substituted but let’s keep it simple for now)
  • a pinch of yeast (seriously, just a pinch!)

For the Baguettes:

  • Poolish
  • 2.5 cups flour (organic white, wheat, or a combination. I usually use 2 cups whole-wheat and .5 cup white)
  • 1/2 + 3 Tbs filtered water
  • 1 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp dry active yeast

The first thing you want to do is PLAN AHEAD. The pre-ferment must sit from 12-14 hours, so it’s best to plan things out. This is NOT a last minute bread. There is no way to speed this up. I like to make my Poolish the night before so it’s ready to get started in the AM. The rising time is also quite lengthy, so it’s best to start early!

Mix the ingredients for the Poolish and cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Set it somewhere it will not be disturbed for 12-14 hours. When it’s at it’s peak, it should look like this:

poolish

You’ll see some nice bubbles all throughout the mixture, and when you stir it, you’ll see the glutenous strands grabbing onto your spoon. It’s pretty neat stuff.

After 12 hours, add the Poolish to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the water to loosen it up and then add the dry ingredients. Mix WELL. You do NOT knead this bread. (Also, the dough will be quite wet. This is good.) Once it’s fully mixed, allow to rise, covered with a towel, for 2 hours. (If you’re short on time, you *can* allow just 1 hour.) After it’s risen, you want to do what’s called the “Stretch and Fold” method. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently stretch from either side. Then, you want to fold the dough onto itself. Do this three times, then put the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30-45 minutes, then stretch and fold again. Do this a total of 5 times. (Again, if you are running short on time, you can omit a few of these. However, you will be compromising the quality of the final product. It will still be delicious, don’t get me wrong, but time and patience are what really make this bread shine!)

After the final stretch and fold, it’s time to shape your baguettes. I watched several YouTube videos until I felt confident in my baguette shaping ability. Here are a couple of my favorites that were extremely helpful. Notice, in the first vid, she also shows you the Stretch and Fold method.

 

Who needs culinary school when you have the internet? Seriously.:)

Shape into 2 baguettes and allow to rise about 20-30 minutes. (I do this on a piece of parchment paper on my baking stone.) Also, preheat the oven to 450 degree F during this time. When the bread has just about doubled, it’s time to score the baguettes. Again, using YouTube videos, I learned the proper way to score them. (Turns out, I’d been doing it ALL WRONG! Also, I really need a scoring blade.) Definitely check out this video if you are unfamiliar.

King Arthur also has another excellent video:

The next step is optional, but vastly increases the quality of your baguettes. About 10 minutes before adding the bread to your oven, place an oven proof bowl or baking dish onto the bottom rack. Fill with water to create steam while baking. Place the baguettes on the top rack and bake for 25 minutes, or until deeply browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

baguettes

Now slice and enjoy!

soupbaguettes

This bread is perfect for all your baguette needs. Bruschetta, molletes, banh mi, garlic bread.. or simply by itself with a bowl of homemade soup. Artisan French baguettes at home are the best.:)

Bon AppΓ©tit!

*This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

 

 

 

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