This recipe has been a rather long time in the making. It started with a feeling of nostalgia, evoked from photographs of our travels in Austria. I can still recall the sublime beauty of that country as if I had just returned this morning. I remember the overwhelming awe and gratitude I felt in the presence of the vast mountain range that surrounds Salzburg, and the sense of wonder, of having travelled through time, while exploring the ruins of Durnstein castle, once home to an imprisoned Richard the Lionheart.
Do you have a happy place? Somewhere you can go to relax, recharge, and be at peace? A place where you feel present in the moment and good in your own skin?
My happy place is the farmer’s market. I’m filled with such an authentic feeling of pleasure whenever I visit, like I’m catering to the wishes of my true and natural self, and I feel so content being surrounded by like-minded individuals, knowing I’m contributing to an ethical, sustainable, and natural mode of food production. I become part of a community, connecting with the people whose hard work and passion helps to put food on my table. I love being able to get in touch with the rhythm of the seasons, buying food at the peak of its freshness and nutritional vitality. It’s just so exciting!
Am I a little bit geeky about vegetables? Absolutely.
These things are a life-saver.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce my sugar intake during the day – the last, stubborn remnant of my previously poor eating habits – but when that post-lunch slump hits me around 2:30 in the afternoon it becomes incredibly difficult to avoid. When I do go for sweets I still make sure they’re comprised of whole foods and have come from my own kitchen, but natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup can still do damage if eaten in large quantities. They might be healthier and more nutritious, but they’re still sugar.
I am so excited about these little cakes! They are SO moist, have great texture, and beautiful flavour – and look how cute! I honestly squealed when they came out of the oven.
And let’s talk for a moment about parsnips, shall we? It might sound strange to put them in dessert, but we’re all comfortable with the idea of carrot cake, and they’re pretty similar as far as root vegetables go. The difference is that parsnips, while similarly sweet, have this amazingly earthy, spicy aroma to them which goes perfectly with cinnamon and cloves. Let’s give parsnips a chance, and make some cake we can feel good about.
I feel like we need to have a chat about nut butters. I may or may not need some kind of nutty intervention, as I am dangerously addicted to this stuff. I put it on oatmeal, I slather it on apples, and I *gasp* eat it by the spoonful. I keep a little container in my desk at work and eat a bite whenever a sugar craving comes along. Chocolate still wins sometimes (okay, more than sometimes), but usually a bite of this keeps me satisfied.
Almond butter has always tasted more like dessert than food to me, even when there’s no sugar added, but this stuff… this stuff is is nuts. You will not believe there’s no sugar, and you will definitely not be able to stop yourself – and that’s okay!
This week I was tasked with creating a quick and portable breakfast recipe, preferably through the use of chia seeds, for a very time-pressed friend of mine. Chocolate chia pudding was the first thing that came to mind, but that didn’t seem quite right. It didn’t seem… interesting enough. I wanted this recipe to really capture the essence of my friend – exotic yet approachable, exciting yet down-to-earth. I suddenly thought of the comforting and aromatic flavours of India and simply couldn’t shake them; everything seemed to just fall into place from there. What I didn’t anticipate was how beautifully this recipe would turn out on the first try.
You may be asking yourselves, “Does the world need another oatmeal cookie recipe?”. I did some considerable soul-searching while developing this recipe, thinking long and hard, before deciding that… yes. Yes it does. These aren’t oatmeal chocolate chip, and they aren’t oatmeal raisin. They aren’t an oatmeal-anything that’s been done before. You won’t find a mulberry-pistachio oatmeal cookie anywhere else, in fact, and I promise you’ll be fast and true friends in no time! I’m munching on one while writing this post and it’s pretty much the perfect cookie, at least in my (cookie)books. The two star ingredients take this recipe from old-fashioned favourite to gourmet – yet healthy – extravagance in one fell swoop!
Have you ever had one of those mornings where nothing seems to go the way you had planned? As if, rather than you waking up on the wrong side of the bed, the rest of the cosmos did? I had just such a morning a couple of weeks ago. I woke up looking forward to having a leisurely morning; I was going to work in the evening, which means I could wake up late, linger over coffee and breakfast, and test out a pumpkin muffin recipe, all without breaking a sweat trying to rush out the door. Such was the plan, anyway. Instead, I woke up to the sound of running water and Conor’s poor step-mom in a state of panic. The massive fish tank in the basement was somehow, steadily, leaking out of the bottom, and a large puddle of water had already accrued on the floor. I could just imagine the poor fish watching helplessly as they sink to their doom. Continue reading
Sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it – like a jolt of lightning from the celestial sphere – and sometimes it comes in fits and starts, with a half-formed idea materializing here and another somewhere over there. Recipe development tends to be the latter for me, but the emergence of an idea, and then an improvement on that idea, still never fails to surprise me. For example, sometime a while back I decided I wanted to do another granola recipe and started running through fruits and flavours that I like. With apple season upon us the answer came pretty quickly – I’ve already got apples on the brain – but the question of where to go from there eluded me. I didn’t just want apple granola, and apple cinnamon has been done before (and many times over). Continue reading
It’s a summertime cliche, I know, but at this time of the year most people are up to their ears in zucchini. Much to my chagrin, I don’t currently have space for a garden, but I still choose to make the most of the zucchini glut by frequent trips to my local farmer’s market. Zucchini noodles are probably my favourite way to use them – add a little homemade pesto and some diced tomato and you’ve got a meal on your hands – but I’ve been inspired to keep developing my own baking recipes, and zucchini is a star in this regard. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but truly, adding zucchini to bread or muffins does not make them taste like zucchini! All it does is add incredible moisture and increase the nutritional value. Win win! Continue reading