Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone + A Giveaway

Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLEHappy Holidays folks. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for and I’m starting to realize that I can channel that gratitude into action. One thing I’m doing this holiday season is requesting that instead of material gifts my family and friends make donations to a selection of non-profits. It feels like a really easy way to focus on appreciating all that I already have while opting out of the supply chain that produces so much environmental damage and waste. And there is so much work that needs to be done in our country and our world right now and so many great organizations who are already doing a great job and need our support. That said, I’m totally in favor of supporting small, local makers and making homemade edible gifts too. I’m looking forward to putting together a gift guide with some suggestions for you soon. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for your next holiday celebration.

I’ve made this recipe probably five times now and am obsessed. It’s very forgiving and so luscious, creamy and rich. It’s perfect for the upcoming holidays and can be made in advance. The crust is made with toasted hazelnuts and dates and the filling is a classic combination of coffee, chocolate, bourbon and maple syrup. I topped it with Vermont Creamery’s mascarpone and a little cardamom for some holiday spice. I sampled several brands of mascarpone in the process of developing this recipe (because believe it or not I  plowed through all six containers Vermont Creamery sent me) and theirs really is the best. The other brands I tried were too thick and dense and didn’t have the same depth of flavor. So if you can get your hands on it, Vermont Creamery is the way to go!

Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLECoffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLECoffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLECoffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLECoffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLECoffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone | TENDING the TABLE

Vermont Creamery is generously giving away a care package containing creme fraiche, mascarpone, butter and a pie box with a leather strap so you can transport your holiday treats safely. This giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be randomly selected on December 7th at 12am EST. Enter to win HERE.

This post was sponsored by Vermont Creamery. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. All opinions are my own.

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Roasted Mushrooms on Toast and No Kid Hungry

Roasted Mushrooms on Toast | TENDING the TABLE

I got home yesterday from a week in Vermont. I was there for a yoga workshop and it was the perfect thing to do after the election last week. While it was hard to be away from Anders and the dogs during such an emotional and confusing time, I was able to spend my time away reflecting on purpose, reconnecting with community and recharging for the holidays ahead. For me, the past week has been full of emotions including disbelief, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and hopefulness. I’ve been reading and listening to the news obsessively and trying to wrap my head around what is happening and how to move forward. I certainly haven’t figured it all out but I’d like to share with you a few things that I believe are important to do right now:

  1. Listen to Others. So many people have said to me that I’m lucky to live in a place like Seattle where I am surrounded by like minded, progressive thinkers. But am I really lucky, or has my privilege blinded me to what is going on in other parts of the country? So, instead of shaming or shutting out the other, let’s take this opportunity to reach across the divide and listen to how people feel. I for one have started a dialogue with my extended family about their values and why they believe what they do. I’m working hard to remain open and compassionate and to listen without judgement. We can’t assume to know anything about someone else’s values, beliefs or motives and broad generalizations and demonizations of others only fosters more hatred and fear. (I recognize that in writing this I’m assuming that you all  share my beliefs and values. If your views differ from mine, don’t close our browser or delete this email. I’d love to hear from you).
  2. Practice your Beliefs. All religions and faiths have moral codes and tenets that provide instruction on how to live righteously. I’ve found inspiration lately in the yoga sutras, particularly the idea that we should have joy for those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, delight in the virtuous and equanimity towards those who are unvirtuous. Each time I find myself reacting to a person or situation I try to remember these guidelines and act accordingly.
  3. Listen to Music. Here are a couple of songs I’ve found particularly inspiring, poignant and relevant. Here, here and here.
  4. Take Action. Simply being well informed and voting doesn’t feel like enough any more so I am making a concerted effort to become more engaged and fight complacency in the long term. I’ve been signing petitions (like this one, this one, this one and this one), creating calls to action, calling my senators (encouraging them to do everything they can to block the appointments of Stephen Bannon and Myron Ebell. You can look up your representatives here), researching opportunities for community outreach and am working towards shifting my finances to support banks and companies that support the values I hold dear.
  5. Laugh Often. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burdened by the negativity these days so I’ve been seeking out humor and levity wherever I can. Soak up those moments of pure joy and let that energy carry you forward. Maybe you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.
  6. Donate. More than ever I feel it is my duty to use the resources at my disposal to support non-profits and organizations that work to  support communities and people in need. Here are a few that I’m supporting or planning to support: Planned Parenthood, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, NRDC, Pro Publica.

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving please also consider joining Julia Turshen’s Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry campaign to provide meals for kids in need. In her book, Small Victories, Julia says:

This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.

To join the campaign click here.

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Wishing you all a weekend full of loving kindess, wellness, peace, and joy.

Sasha

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Ginger Apple Spritzer

Ginger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLEGinger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLEGinger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLE

We moved our bedroom upstairs this week and the process got me all excited about redecorating. As a result I’ve been spending way to much time on Pinterest and way too much money. I also decided to re-paint the living room which means that I’ve spent the last few days covered in paint, breathing in fumes. My arms are sore and the dogs are really hyper as a result of being locked in the bedroom all day. I had to lock them up because Roux is an idiot and likes to lean on things…even freshly painted walls. Anyways, enough about my house projects. Let’s talk mocktails.

I’m not a drinker…except for champagne. And only really good champagne. I know… I’m a snob. With the holidays approaching, I decided to develop some mocktail recipes so I won’t feel left out when everyone else is sipping fun drinks with garnishes. So, I’ve got two recipes for you today. One is for a Ginger Apple Spritzer which is simple but full of rich spices. The ginger is warming and the cardamom bitters are aromatic. If you like you could add some bourbon to this one. The other recipe is for a Ginger Pear Fizz. I pureed the pear with ginger lemonade for an intense pear flavor and topped it with kombucha and rosemary. These mocktails will make you feel fancy and they’re both great for your digestion too so you’ll feel great even after the party is over.

Ginger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLEGinger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLEGinger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLEGinger Apple Spritzer | TENDING the TABLE

 

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Spiced Apple and Cranberry Muffins

Spiced Apple and Cranberry Muffins | TENDING the TABLE

Hey friends! Hope you’re having a good week. I spent the morning the New York Times Magazine issue about big food and it really got me thinking about the food movement and my role in it. The feature includes some really eye opening images that emphasize the massive scale of food production in our country, a fascinating article about candy companies struggling to create natural food colorings, an article about the oversight of meat processing facilities or lack thereof and an article by Michael Pollan about the obstacles to new food policies. Pollan argues that unless we have a widespread shift in our food culture that shifts consumer demand and puts pressure on companies and politicians, nothing will change. I’m always trying to figure out the best way to inspire people and I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet, but I hope that if I continue to do what I do and continue to share my thoughts on current issues some of you will be moved. For me, the take home message after reading this feature was that our daily choices really do matter. We cast a vote every time we buy something at the grocery store and shopping mindfully, with ethics, human rights and the environment in mind is more important than ever. If we all choose healthier, more sustainable food by supporting our local small-scale farmers, organic, and non-gmo we can shift demand and start a movement. Let’s start a movement!

I made a big batch of applesauce the other day. It’s one of my favorite fall activities and one of the few things I still put up for the winter months (I’ve stopped making jam because of all the sugar. If anyone has a good jam recipe that doesn’t use refined sugar please let me know.) These muffins aren’t too sweet and I love the way the tart, juicy cranberries pop as you bite into them. I added cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the muffins to pump up the fall coziness factor. Enjoy.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad

Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLE

A teacher once told me, “We are not programmed to be afraid. We are programmed to be courageous.” Despite having heard these words many years ago, I still often lay in bed at night, my body riddled with nervous energy, trying to fall asleep. As I try to relax, I listen to a guided meditation and repeat an affirmation to myself. Now, I’m not sure if telling people my affirmation will jinx it like when you say your birthday wish out loud, so I’ll just paraphrase it for you. The jist is that I envision a future where I am strong and brave. Sometimes you need to hear something multiple times to really get it. I think that’s the case for me with this idea of being inherently courageous.

Today someone told me, “we are designed to deal with hard things.” Hearing this brought tears to my eyes. It’s been such a crappy year and more often than not I’ve felt burdened by grief, fear and anxiety. But maybe, instead of thinking of myself as overcome by these fearful thoughts and feelings I should remember that I’m on a journey and that every day I’m learning how to be stronger and braver; I’m learning how to deal with the hard things. Maybe those feelings aren’t so bad after all and I should learn to appreciate them the same way I appreciate the moments of peace. Easier said than done I suppose. Here’s to the practice of life!

Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLERoasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLERoasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLERoasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLERoasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad | TENDING the TABLE

This recipe was developed as part of the annual #virtualpumpkinparty. It’s a hearty salad full of textures and flavors. The barley is nutty and chewy, the pumpkin sweet and creamy, and the radicchio is crunchy and bitter.  I dressed it with a molasses maple balsamic that is perfectly sweet and sour. It’s great as a main dish or as a side. Feel free to play around and use other types of squash in place of the pumpkin if you like.

You can check out all the other pumpkin recipes here. Enjoy!

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Matcha Marshmallows

Matcha Marshmallows | TENDING the TABLE

Okay. You asked for it, so here it is. The recipe for these Matcha Marshmallows as seen on IG was adapted from Molly’s new book Molly on the Range. You really need this book! It’s full of delicious recipes, playful illustrations, and witty essays that will have you laughing out loud. I’ve never seen a cookbook quite like it. A few things I’ve made or want to make: Molly’s oven fries (they’re cooked in butter and sooo crispy!), brussels sprout rosti, matzo brie (haven’t made this in such a long time but remember it fondly from my childhood), dark chocolate marzipan scone loaf, cardamom orange kubaneh, cauliflower shawarma tacos, and of course challah! I’ve bookmarked at least a dozen recipes and can’t wait to keep cooking from this amazing book. Congrats Molly!

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Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies

Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLETwo years ago today I started this blog. I told myself that I’d give it a try and if after a year I felt like it wasn’t right I’d try something else. But here I am, two years later, still loving almost every aspect of this work. I love the creativity, the solitude and the idea of impacting the way people think about food. Things I don’t love so much: hustling for work, writing contracts, and doing payroll. But, it’s worth dealing with these aspects of the job in order to feel like I’m making the world a better place, one post at a time.

So in honor of my blog-versary and in the spirit of changing the world through food I’ve finally compiled a list of links  from the sustainable foods conference I attended in September. It’s a list of articles, projects and information that I found particularly inspiring and that changed the way I think about food and the choices I make each day. Because, as Jane Goodall said, the small choices we make each day can lead to the kind of world we all want for the future.

Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLEChestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies | TENDING the TABLE

  1. In 2014, University of California launched its Global Food Initiative, a campaign designed to identify and test best practices across UC campuses that can serve as examples for other schools and communities and to foster research and policy that will shape a sustainable foods future. If I could go back to school, I’d apply for a GFI fellowship!
  2. Sean Sherman is opening a restaurant that will focus on revitalizing Native American indigenous food traditions. He’s using native, wild ingredients and creating jobs for his community. And most of his food in inherently vegan! This is the beginning of a new hyper local, sustainable food movement…
  3. Louie Psihoyos, the guy behind The Cove and Racing Extinction, is making a new film about elite vegan athletes called The Game Changers. I can’t wait to see it! His goal is to create a tipping point and change the world by convincing people to give up meat and he’s off to a good start with his previous films and the hashtag #startwith1thing.
  4. Think about this the next time you think about buying or eating shrimp!
  5. These short films are beautiful and inspiring…What would the soil say if it could speak?
  6. By 2050 global demand for animal protein will go up 80-100% with devastating impacts on our planet. Instead of trying to develop new systems of production or create alternatives that taste like meat (but not really) why not just eat more vegetables? I’m liking the phrase, “plant forward” more and more.
  7. A study by food ethnographer June Jo Lee found that only 17% of people want to know where their food comes from. Let’s change that!

I hope you found something interesting or inspiring here today  and that you’ll start a conversation with your friends and loved ones, ideally while eating warm Chestnut and Spiced Pear Hand Pies.

XO

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Rice Crispy Bars

Rice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLERice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLERice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLE

Finally! I think I made these bars like a million times this week. Okay, maybe it was more like five or six, but it felt like a million because I couldn’t eat any. Don’t worry though, I’ve stashed some away for later when I’ve recovered from cleanse week. So, remember when I took a poll on Instagram because I couldn’t decide which flavor rice crispy bar to share with you? Well, I finally decided…Below you will find, not one, not two, but three recipes. You’re welcome! Feel free to play around and make your own version of these bars as well. You can try different nut butters and/or throw in whatever seeds or dried fruit you like. These bars are killer and they’re gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan. Whoop whoop! Oh and did I mention that they come together in a pinch. Easy peasy. Enjoy!

Rice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLERice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLERice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLERice Crispy Bars Three Ways | TENDING the TABLE

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Roasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing

Roasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLERoasted Squash Salad with Sesame Crisps and Creamy Miso Dressing | TENDING the TABLE

This week’s post is going to be brief. I still feel like I’m playing catch up so haven’t had time to compile my notes from the sustainable foods conference we attended earlier this month. I’m really looking forward to sharing what I learned with you once I get my act together. In the meantime a brief update will have to suffice.

We’ve been transitioning into fall the past few weeks which means we’re doing our annual seasonal cleanse (happy to share more details if anyone is interested) and getting ready for Anders to start his final quarter of school. The next three months he’ll be totally consumed by his thesis and I’m not expecting to see him much which will take some getting used to. We planted some fall greens in the garden and some edible flowers are sprouting on the windowsill which I hope will brighten the winter days. The dogs are enjoying cuddling up in bed with me on these chilly mornings and most days there is a pot of soup simmering on the stove and  veggies roasting in the oven.

This salad dresses up those simple roasted veggies with  sesame and coriander crisps and a creamy miso dressing. It’s a simple salad but very satisfying. Enjoy!

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Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes

Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLELindsey,

Congratulations! You’re about to be a mom. For many months you’ve nurtured, nourished and cradled the life inside you. Your child has grown into a beautiful, perfect being and is ready to enter the world. I have no doubt that you, with your kind heart, generosity, compassion, and strong values, will raise a child capable of making a difference. In honor of your baby’s birth I wanted to share one of my favorite poems with you. May your family be blessed with happiness, health, strength, boundless love and contentment.

Sending lots of virtual hugs as you begin this new journey.

Sasha

Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLE

Winter By Mary Oliver

And the waves

gush pearls

from their snowy throats

as they come

leaping

over the moss green,

black-green,

glass-green roughage-

as they crumble

on the incline

scattering

whatever they carry

in their invisible

and motherly hands:

stones,

seaweed,

mussels

icy and plump

with waled shells,

waiting

for the gatherers

who come flying

on their long white wings-

who comes walking,

who comes muttering:

thank you,

old dainties,

dark wreckage,

coins of the sea

in my pockets

and plenty for the gulls

and the wind still pounding

and the sea still streaming in like a mother wild with gifts-

in this world I am as rich

as I need to be.

Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | TENDING the TABLE

This post was created as part of a virtual baby shower for Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal. The pudding is flavored with sweet almond extract and packed with protein. The grapes are roasted with cozy fall spices and the granola and pine nuts add a little savory crunch. It’s a delicious combination of textures and flavors and whips up easily for breakfast or dessert.

Check out the links below for some more great recipes created in Lindsey’s honor.

Sweet Potato Millet Pancakes | The Full Helping
Mushroom and Kale Tacos | Brooklyn Supper
Butternut Squash French Toast | Edible Perspective
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Honey Olive Oil Ice Cream | Cake Over Steak
Roasted Green Tomato Soup with Herbed Oil | With Food + Love
Tart Cherry, Chocolate & Hempseed No-Bake Oat Bars | Kale & Caramel
Dark Chocolate Hummus | A Couple Cooks
Maitake Steaks with Cauliflower Purée | O&O Eats
Cucumber & Chamoe Melon Salad | Two Red Bowls
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam | The Sugar Hit
Miso Edamame Hummus with Baked Furikake Sweet Potato Chips | Fix Feast Flair
Mini Hazelnut Cakes | I am a Food Blog
The Magic of a Mandolin: Vegetable Carpaccio | Eat Boutique
Almond Chia Pudding with Roasted Grapes | Tending the Table
Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Puffed Millet Bars | Heart of a Baker

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Cherry Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cherry Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | TENDING the TABLE

Hello friends! I’m finally home after a few weeks away. It’s been a whirlwind of photoshoots, sailing, vacationing, conferences ( more on that soon), parties and puppies. I’m happy to be home and in the kitchen again and even happier to be making and eating these cookies from Alanna’s new book Alternative Baker.

While I’m not strictly gluten free, I often find myself trying (and mostly failing) to bake treats that use nut flours instead of processed wheat flour. My favorite desserts are those that feel healthy without tasting heathy. Alanna has put her training as a pastry chef to good use and created a beautiful book full of delicious gluten free desserts using a variety of flavor rich alternative flours. Her recipes are thorough, detailed and fool-proof.

While flipping through the book, several recipes jumped out at me including the Pumpkin Cranberry Nut and Seed Loaf, the Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting, the Buckwheat Bergamot Double Chocolate Cookies and these Cherry Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are easy to whip up, full of rich nutty flavor from the brown butter and chestnut flour and packed with all the good things like pecans, dried cherries and chunks of gooey chocolate. The texture is amazing for a gluten free cookie with a crispy edge and a chewy center. I ate more than a few in the process of creating this post. I hope you enjoy them too!

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Peach Mango and Sage Lemonade

Peach Mango and Sage Lemonade | TENDING the TABLE

Hey! I’m headed off to San Francisco in a few days for a sailing course, a sustainable foods conference and some hanging out. But, I wanted to share one last summer recipe with you before fall takes over completely. This lemonade is lightly sweetened with honey and infused with aromatic sage and tropical mango and peach. I added some coconut water too and think it’s pretty dang refreshing. I hope you like it. I’ll be back in a few weeks with some fall goodies for you and lots of exciting new information about the sustainable food movement. Don’t forget to follow my adventures on Instagram and Snapchat while I’m away.Peach Mango and Sage Lemonade | TENDING the TABLEPeach Mango and Sage Lemonade | TENDING the TABLEPeach Mango and Sage Lemonade | TENDING the TABLE

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Baked Bean Sliders

Baked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLE

I’m down in Oregon for a ten day photoshoot. Working on set every day, styling ten to twelve recipes a day, has me intensely aware of the issue of food waste. When I’m working at home on a blog post, we always eat any leftovers for our next meal, but with a project like the one I’m currently immersed in, there’s no way we can eat all the food we’re making and there are always leftover ingredients that go bad in the back of the fridge. I’ve been trying to go with the flow and not worry too much about it, but the reality is that food waste is an issue I’ve always felt strongly about and I’m not the type to sit idly by. Forty percent of food in the U.S. is wasted. That’s almost half and it’s not only a problem environmentally, but disrespects the hard work put into producing our food and disregards the people who don’t have enough to eat. It seems to me that the best way to show our gratitude for the bounty we have is to be diligent about preventing it from going to waste. I’m doing what I can and wanted to share some simple tips with you to help you reduce your own food waste.

  1. Plan ahead. Plan meals for the week and then shop with a list to avoid buying things you don’t need that will likely end up in the back of the pantry. Only buy what you know you’ll use.
  2. Only cook what you can eat. It’s better to make half a recipe than have leftovers that might go bad in the fridge. If you do make extra, make sure it’s something that will hold up well for a few days like a soup, stew or bean dish.
  3. Repurpose. Sometimes leftovers get boring. Be creative and invent new dishes with your leftovers.
  4. Check in. I scan the contents of my fridge every few days to see what might be on the verge of  going bad so I can make sure to use that ingredient first.
  5. Storage matters. Think about food waste in a broader context and also focus on the waste you generate while buying, cooking and storing your groceries and leftovers. Bring your own grocery bags (if you forget, opt for a single paper bag instead of a double or plastic), use cloth bags for buying produce or bulk items, consider using eco-friendly kitchen solutions like Silpats or Bee’s Wrap and store food in reusable glass or stainless containers that will last.
  6. Recycle empty bottles, cans or cartons.
  7. Compost what you don’t eat or make friends with someone who has chickens or pigs.
  8. Donate extra non-perishables to your local food bank (many grocery stores serve as drop off locations).

Baked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLEBaked Bean Sliders | TENDING the TABLE

These baked beans are a staple in our house. They are simple to make and packed with smokey sweet and sour flavor. Throw them on a toasted bun with some crunchy cabbage slaw and you have a perfect weeknight summer meal. Enjoy!

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Raspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler

Raspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLE

I spent the weekend at the beach, playing in the water, hiking, teaching yoga and celebrating the marriage of two wonderful people. Weddings often make me feel sentimental and romantic and this one was no different. Anders and I started the weekend in a funk, but by Sunday, we felt like newlyweds again. People say that the friends and family who witness your marriage are the people who will guide you and support you when your relationship gets bumpy. But being a witness to someone else’s vows can also guide and support one’s own relationship. I’m more grateful than ever to have such great friends to support and be supported by. So, in the spirit of summer and weddings and beaches and stuff, I’ve got a celebratory mocktail for you.

Raspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLERaspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler | TENDING the TABLE

Hibiscus iced tea is one of my favorite summer drinks. This version is extra special with muddled raspberries and figs. It’s tart and sweet and fruity and floral all at once and so refreshing on a hot day. This post was created as part of the #drinkthesummer virtual cocktail party hosted each year by Sherrie of With Food and Love. See below for the full list of amazing cocktails and mocktails.

BOOZY
With Food + Love | Basil Fig Vodka Smash
A Little Saffron | Beach Bum’s Rum
A Thought For Food | Tarragon Tequlia Swizzle
Heart of a Baker | Green Tea Mint Cooler
Hungry Girl por Vida | Whisky Peach Alexander
Beard and Bonnet | Melon Mojito
Appeasing a Food Geek | Basil and Black Pepper Gin Sour
Vegetarian Ventures | Garden Tonic Punch
The Foodie Nurse | Husk Cherry Margarita
Wicked Spatula | Coconut Gin and Tonic
Nutritionist in the Kitch | Healthy Muddled Blackberry Pina Coladas
Chocolate + Marrow | Pequito Verdecito
The Solstice Table | Jalapeno Watermelon Cooler
Seasonal Cravings | Strawberry Lime Gin Rickey
Dessert for Two | Salty Melon Slush
NOT BOOZY
Heartbeet Kitchen | Salty Watermelon Shrub Elixir
My Heart Beets | Spiced Pistachio Shake
rooting the sun | Strawberry Fennel Soda
The Modern Proper | Vanilla Bean Plum Shrub
Gourmande in the Kitchen | Stone Fruit Thyme Shrub Soda
I am a Food Blog | Cherry Vanilla Sodas
Well and Full | Peach Bubble Tea

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Green Gazpacho

Green Gazpacho | TENDING the TABLE

A world without end bargain. That’s how Shakespeare defined marriage in Love’s Labor’s Lost. It’s not something to be taken lightly or rushed into and it’s hard work. Anders and I had been together for seven years before we got married. We fell in love immediately and I think we both knew that we were meant to be. We spent the following hours, days, months and years side by side. We were never apart for more than a week and we came to know each other well and I was proud of that.

When we decided to move to Seattle we made a plan which involved Anders heading out to the West coast while I stayed behind in Vermont for another three months. Those three months were brutal. I slept with Scarlet every night because I missed having Anders beside me. We talked as often as we could, but I still missed him and was still terrified that he would change without me. I worried that during those three months he would make new friends and have new experiences and somehow become a different person without me there to witness it and adapt to it. When I finally arrived at our new house in Seattle I walked in the door to find dozens of twinkling tea lights leading me up the stairs to a picnic on the floor of our unfurnished home. A few weeks later Anders proposed. He later told me that those three months apart made him realize how much he needed me.

Those three months made us stronger, but the past three years have changed us both. We have moments when we feel like our old selves. Moments when we’re both giddy and full. Moments when we’re our best selves individually and together. But most of the time it feels like who we are in this big city and who we want to be aren’t aligned. It feels like a tug of war, each of us pulling and pulling trying to reach an ideal only to fall backwards in the end. Luckily, when I’m down he’s there to support me and when he’s down I’m there for him too. I don’t know where we’ll be next year or in ten or twenty years, but I’m beginning to learn that life is a practice. No one is perfect and the best we can do is to be mindful and keep trying to live out our values and to love each other as we’ve promised to as if the world will never end.

Green Gazpacho | TENDING the TABLEGreen Gazpacho | TENDING the TABLEGreen Gazpacho | TENDING the TABLEGreen Gazpacho | TENDING the TABLE

This soup is perfect for those hot summer days when you can’t bear to turn on the stove. It’s packed with cooling veggies and herbs, nutrient dense greens and is rich and satisfying thanks to the blanched almonds. It’s versatile and can be served at a casual picnic out of enamel mugs or dressed up for a sit down dinner. Enjoy!

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Plum and Rosemary Cake

Plum and Rosemary Cake | TENDING the TABLEHey! I’m still catching up after our week away and feeling a little wrung out emotionally. More on all of that later. For now I’ve got this simple plum and rosemary cake for you. It’s not too sweet, plenty moist, and studded with herbs and juicy plums. It’s also gluten free and refined sugar free. I’ll be back next week with some summery things for you. Enjoy!

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Roasted Peach Sorbet

Roasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLEHello from the Methow Valley. We’re here for a week of camping and adventuring and while I’m excited to be sharing this recipe with you I’m also eager to get back into the woods so I’ll keep it brief. We spent last night in a hut up on Rendezvous Pass. We made waffles for breakfast and went for a walk before heading down into town to do some work and pick up the bikes we’ve rented for the week. We’re excited to test out our mountain biking skills with some more challenging trails. Wish me luck! Our plan for the week is as follows: eat, hike, eat, bike, swim, eat, read, sleep…repeat. Sounds pretty good right?

We’re keeping our meals fairly simple and I know after a couple of days of hiking and biking in the summer heat I’ll be craving this creamy roasted peach sorbet. This recipe is really simple and so refreshing. I roasted the peaches with some brown sugar and vanilla to add richness then threw in some lemon juice and honey to brighten things up and add a floral note. This sorbet sings of summer and is super luscious. I can’t wait for you to try it. Stay cool and enjoy! Roasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLERoasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLERoasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLERoasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLERoasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLERoasted Peach Sorbet | TENDING the TABLE

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Summer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLE

I heard a podcast recently which outlined the most effective way to influence change: make it easy. Modern life is complex and busy, leaving little time or energy for making mindful decisions. It sometimes feels like there are simply too many factors to consider and too much research required. I think this is especially true when it comes to food. It’s not only about what we buy or where we buy it, but also about how we store it and how much we throw away. Our kitchens are full of plastic bags, containers and wraps designed to help us store and preserve our food, most of which contain toxic chemicals and end up in landfills or in the ocean. Instead, I’ve been using Bee’s Wrap and love it. It’s made from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The warmth of your hands softens the beeswax and creates a seal. It’s naturally anti-bacterial, reusable, safe, sustainable and perfect for transporting your potluck dishes like this summer salad with roasted corn and chili.

It’s been hot and sticky here which has me reminiscing about our travels through Thailand eating papaya salad. This is my version made with all the summer veggies. It’s fresh, crunchy, sweet and a little spicy. I added fresh coriander to it for a little pop.

Summer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLESummer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLESummer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLESummer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLESummer Salad with Roasted Corn and Chili | TENDING the TABLE

I’ve partnered with MightyNest  to make it easy for you to start using Bee’s Wrap. MightyNest offers sustainable, healthy home products for the responsible consumer. Through their Mighty Fix subscription service, subscribers receive an eco-friendly product each month. It’s a great way to learn about all the environmentally friendly products out there, update your home and support companies who are doing things right. You can sign up and get your first month at a discount HERE. Or use the code TABLEBEESWRAPFIX at checkout.

*This post was sponsored by MightyNest. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors.

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Peach and Raspberry Turnovers

Peach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLE

We just got back from three weeks of traveling and while our time in Vermont made us more determined than ever to move back after Anders graduates, I’m also happy to be home. We’ve got a couple other small trips planned in the coming months, but for the most part we’ll be home tackling some long overdue house projects and hanging by the lake to escape the heat.

Both fans are running non-stop, the dogs have been sleeping on the tile floor in the entryway, and all my potted herbs are brown and wilted. But, my fridge is full of all the summer fruits and berries so I can’t complain. We’ve been eating blueberries by the handful, making jam, snacking on sweet cherries, and baking galettes and turnovers.

Peach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLEPeach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLEPeach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLE

As much as I love getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, making pie dough by hand isn’t my favorite thing. I always end up with dough stuck under my wedding ring, flour all over the floor and counter, and a soggy crust. Grand Central Bakery’s ready to use pie dough (available at their three retail bakeries in Eastlake, Burien and Pioneer Square) is made with local flour, super easy to use, and so so flaky. This pre-rolled pie dough makes baking pies, galettes, turnovers etc. so effortless. I’m never going back.

Sweet peaches and tart raspberries make a juicy, subtly sweet filling for these turnovers. The cardamom and lime juice add an exotic flair. They’re simple to make and perfect for backyard potlucks or summer picnics. Enjoy!

Peach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLEPeach and Raspberry Turnovers | TENDING the TABLE_DSC9050

*This post was sponsored by Grand Central Bakery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors.

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Vermont

Vermont | TENDING the TABLE

Hi friends! I spent last week in VT and wanted to share some photos from our time there with you along with some links to some of our favorite things to do and eat. I’ll be back next week with a vibrant summer recipe for you.

  1. This is our new favorite swimming hole. There are plenty of flat rocks to lounge on/jump off of and three deep pools for swimming.
  2. These maple creemees put the rest to shame. Sooo good! P.S. The small is not small.
  3. There are creative and sustainable food businesses all over Vermont. I was excited to learn about a few new ones during our visit including this delicious solar powered, naturally leavened bread, these stone ground corn tortillas made by a college friend and this local sunflower oil.
  4. This bakery was started by another college friend and has become wildly popular. They’re transitioning to dinner and I can’t wait to visit next time we’re in town.
  5. We always enjoy grabbing wood fired pizza at this family run place when they’re open. It’s all outdoor seating and BYO. On summer evenings families come with kids and picnic blankets to enjoy good food and the sunset. Pick up some english muffins to go.
  6. This is still my favorite grocery store/community gathering place ever. Anders usually visits with old friends while I shop.
  7. We hiked some of our favorite trails and enjoyed some impromptu swimming and some great views.

Vermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLEVermont | TENDING the TABLE

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat to see what I’m up to while I’m travelling. And if you haven’t already, please take a moment to nominate Tending the Table for the Saveur Blog Awards.

With gratitude, Sasha

 

 

Cherry Almond Oat Bars

Cherry Almond Oat Bars | TENDING the TABLE

Hello from Vermont! We arrived on Friday and have been busy hiking, swimming, hanging out, flying kites, jumping on trampolines and visiting all our favorite spots. It always feels good to be back. The fields are lush and green, the wind hums through the trees and the rivers are clear and cold. We’ve been looking at a piece of land out here for the past six months and were hoping that things would fall into place while we were here. We took a little hike through the woods to explore the property and were discouraged and disappointed by the condition of the land and have decided to keep looking. Suddenly, things feel very uncertain. Anders graduates in December and instead of having a home to move back to, we could do anything or go anywhere. Big transitions like these always feel daunting and having faith that things will work out is hard for me.

In the face of uncertainty I usually turn to baked goods for comfort. I made these bars a few weeks ago and am super excited to share the recipe with you. The flavors here are rich and nutty with almond extract and chocolate in addition to sweet summer cherries. The bars are gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free which means you can eat them for breakfast!

Enjoy.

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Toast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey

Toast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLEToast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLE

A rooster crows. A soft breeze blows through the open window and I begin to stir. Roux jumps up on the bed and flops down next to me, thumping his tail enthusiastically, and giving me a few sloppy kisses. I fell asleep thinking about abundance and woke up feeling abundant. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions weave such a complex web of downy, dewy threads that it often seems impossible to untangle them all. But, I’ve come to realize that the simple act of concentrating the mind has the power to change how we feel and what we do. Thought really does manifest action.

Two years ago, I was lost and unhappy. I was working long hours waitressing, adjusting to a new life in a new city, and lonely. But, I was lucky to have a wise man in my life who suggested I try something new. So, I signed up for a workshop and waited. The air got colder, the leaves changed color and fell to the ground. It was October. The workshop arrived and I spent two days learning about food styling and how to shoot on manual. The next day, on my birthday, I started this blog. Now, after pursuing my passion, building a business, and honing a craft, I feel happy, content and full of purpose. I still think about “success” and what that means. For me, success means reaching a wider audience with the hope of changing our food system. So, I’m hoping you can help me by taking a moment to nominate Tending the Table for the 2016 Saveur Blog Awards. These awards recognize the best blogs out there in a myriad of categories and set the standard for the industry. Nominations are open through July 18th, here.

They say gratitude is the key to abundance and it’s true. I feel so grateful for all the steps that led me here, grateful for a sequence of events that now seem serendipitous and almost archetypal, and grateful for all of you who give my work meaning. So, thank you. Thank you for being here and sharing this space with me. For listening and for sharing your stories.

With gratitude, Sasha

Toast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLEToast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLEToast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLEToast with Peaches, Tahini and Honey | TENDING the TABLE

This toast was inspired by a dessert I saw on a menu in Sydney. The combination of peaches and tahini turned out to be even better than I expected, perfectly balancing sweet and savory. The juiciness of the peaches works perfectly on toast and the radish sprouts add a little punch. This is a perfect breakfast or lunch on those days when it’s too hot to cook and you want something both filling and refreshing.

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Creamy Chai Pops

Creamy Chai Pops | TENDING the TABLECreamy Chai Pops | TENDING the TABLECreamy Chai Pops | TENDING the TABLECreamy Chai Pops | TENDING the TABLE

It’s vacation time! I spent the beginning of the week sewing curtains, cleaning out all the kitchen drawers, scrubbing the top of the fridge and herding dust bunnies out from under the beds…you get the idea. The deep cleaning is pretty miserable in the moment but I love how things feel all sparkly fresh afterwards. Part of me really wants to stay and enjoy it. Instead, we’re heading out and about for four weeks, visiting family in Oregon and New York, friends in VT, camping, backpacking, and enjoying all the summer fun. Be sure to stay tuned and follow my adventures on Instagram and Snapchat. What are your summer vacation plans? Whatever they are I hope they include plenty of frozen treats.

I made these amazing chai pops for Popsicle Week. They’re super creamy, a little spicy, vegan and refined sugar free. I’m pretty excited about them and hope you are too.

Enjoy!

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Gingered Strawberries

Gingered Strawberries | TENDING the TABLEHey! Hope everyone is having a great week. I’m at lake crescent taking a much needed break from the city, kayaking, hiking and trying to teach Roux to swim. It feels like summer is really here and the farmer’s market is in full swing. Last week I picked up peas, zucchini, basil, cucumbers, peaches, and all the berries. With the insanely warm weather we’ve been having the berries started going bad before we could eat them all, but I was determined not to let any go to waste. They aren’t perfect looking, and are even a little wrinkled and bruised (they had a rough ride home on the back of my bike) but that’s ok with me. I think there’s something beautiful about produce that isn’t perfect and I hope that you’ll see the inherent beauty too. Twenty percent of the produce grown in the U.S. goes to waste because it doesn’t fit the strict cosmetic standards set by grocery stores, and expected by consumers, resulting in wasted resources and huge environmental impacts. Several organizations like Imperfect Produce and Imperfectly Delicious  are working to change this by educating consumers, working with farmers and gleaning imperfect produce to sell in discounted CSA shares or incorporate into food service industry menus. After all, it’s the flavor that matters most right?

Gingered Strawberries | TENDING the TABLEGingered Strawberries | TENDING the TABLEGingered Strawberries | TENDING the TABLEI dressed up these strawberries by tossing them with coconut sugar and freshly grated ginger for a rich roasted flavor and a little zing. I served them with sheep milk yogurt, apriums, toasted pistachios and chia seeds but they’d be great on strawberry shortcakes or over ice cream too. The styling in this post was inspired by Tara O’Brady’s recipe for Chia Pudding with Fruit and Golden Honey Elixer.

Gingered Strawberries

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

1 cup strawberries hulled and sliced

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

Sheep milk yogurt

Sliced apriums or apricots

Toasted and chopped pistachios

Chia seeds

PROCEDURE

Gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and ginger until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries start to release their juices. Serve with sheep milk yogurt, sliced apriums, toasted pistachios and chia seeds.

Collard Wraps

Collard Wraps | TENDING the TABLEIt’s been a bit of a rough week. Last weekend I attended a workshop, but instead of feeling inspired and encouraged I ended up feeling lots of self-doubt and insecurity. I’ve been feeling down ever since and am trying to remember to just roll with it, knowing that these feelings come in waves. On top of it all, it’s been ridiculously hot here which makes it hard to get much done. I’m looking forward to a little break next week and some time on the water. What are your summer plans?

Collard Wraps | TENDING the TABLECollard Wraps | TENDING the TABLECollard Wraps | TENDING the TABLECollard Wraps | TENDING the TABLECollard Wraps | TENDING the TABLEI made these collard wraps a few weeks ago on Nom after I found these beautiful collard greens at the market. I’m excited to share the recipe with you here. They’re simple, tasty and make great leftovers for lunch. Enjoy!

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Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw

Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLE

A wise man once said, “Be the change  you wish to see in the world.” Then lots of other people repeated his words and turned a powerful message into a tired cliche. However, if you stop and really consider these words, they still ring true. I often get frustrated  by other people’s inaction and hypocrisy. I become judgmental and grouchy, muttering and grumbling under my breath when I see friends or family eating feedlot meat and conventional produce. I know I sound like a snob and I am one. I admit it. I also know that all the judging and grumbling in the world isn’t going to change anything. Everyone has values and most people live them out in their daily lives. Over and over again I have to remind myself that the things I value most are not universal. While I view our daily food choices as the most impactful choices we make when it comes to ethical and sustainable living, others might not agree and it’s not my job to shame them or guilt them into submission. All I can do is live my values and set an example that I hope inspires others. So, what inspires you to change? I find that reading powerful books or moving documentaries (the kind that make me uncomfortable and sad) often impact my choices the most. But, I know that for some, this kind of exposure leaves them feeling discouraged. For some, positive solutions or satire are the most inspiring and for others scientific facts compel them to change. One of my goals with this blog is to help people eat better, not only for themselves, but for the planet. I’ve been reluctant to write too much about the ethical and environmental problems with our current food system for fear of alienating readers and driving people away. But I’d like to change that and start bringing you some weekly food for thought (sorry, I couldn’t resist). So, I’d like to hear from you, my readers, about what inspires you to change? How can I help you learn about the issues facing our food system and instill in you a desire to shop, cook and eat more mindfully? Comment below and let me know…

Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLEKohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLEKohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLEKohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLEKohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLEKohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Slaw | TENDING the TABLE

This salad is crisp and fresh and perfect as a side for picnics and barbecues. The apple adds a sweet crunch and the lemon, turmeric and ginger dressing is zippy and bright. It’s also super easy to throw together and really colorful. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Lavender Popsicles

Strawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEStrawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEStrawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEHappy Saturday! I’m spending a long weekend in the Methow Valley camping, hiking and biking. Have I told you about the Methow yet? It’s pretty much the greatest place on earth. There are mountains and rivers, forests and meadows, and miles and miles of hiking and biking. The valley has been our home away from home since we moved to Seattle. It’s the one place where we really feel like ourselves. There’s something about the fresh air, the exercise, the friendly people, and the local food that make us instantly happier, more grateful, more in love, and more alive.Strawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEStrawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEStrawberry Lavender Popsicles | TENDING the TABLEThese popsicles were inspired by Yossy Arefi’s new book Sweeter off the Vine. I’m generally not a lavender person, but I had the opportunity to try Yossy’s Pistachio Pound Cake with Lavender Strawberries at her book talk here in Seattle and fell in love with this flavor combo. These popsicles are really easy to make, refined sugar free and perfect for a holiday weekend. Enjoy!

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Chana Palaak

Chana Palaak | TENDING the TABLEChana Palaak | TENDING the TABLEChana Palaak | TENDING the TABLEChana Palaak | TENDING the TABLE

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you all for a while now. Sorry it took me so long. This is one of my favorite go to meals that I’ve been making since college. It’s my riff on the classic palaak paneer but it’s dairy free which makes my tummy and my skin happy. I add coconut milk to make it rich and creamy and the chickpeas make it nice and hearty. I love it, Anders loves it, and our friend’s 11-month old baby even loves it. Every time I make this, the smell of Indian spices makes me nostalgic for our time in India and I vow to cook more Indian food. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do and that every time you make it you imagine me in India, zipping through the crowded streets on a motorbike, slurping fresh coconut water, sitting cross legged on the floor and eating with my fingers.

Chana Palaak | TENDING the TABLEChana Palaak | TENDING the TABLEChana Palaak | TENDING the TABLE

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse | TENDING the TABLE

Happy Saturday! It’s raining again which means all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a big mug of tea and a puppy or two and watch reruns. I won’t even tell you what show I’m hooked on right now, because it’s too embarrassing. What are you watching these days?

I did my first live cooking demo yesterday, which was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I think it went pretty well. You can watch it here if you’re interested and pick up a few tips for making this mousse. Most vegan mousse recipes rely on avocado, but this recipe uses aquafaba (aka bean juice) instead which miraculously whips up just like egg whites. It creates an incredibly light and airy consistency and reduces food waste by using a product that would normally end up down the drain. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like beans at all.

Here are a few links from the week:

  1. I just started reading this book and  so far it’s full of eye opening information about the problems with our food system and has me rethinking some of my food choices.
  2. This article exposes the horrible working conditions in poultry processing facilities, just in case the environmental impacts and animal cruelty issues weren’t already enough reason to boycott chicken.
  3. This article has some great info on the health benefits of chickpeas.
  4. My new favorite ceramics artist. I can’t seem to find the bowls I want through any of his stockists though…Dang!
  5. I’m excited to make this soup this weekend.

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Roasted Cherry Soda

Roasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLE

I feel like I have a toddler. I wake up every morning, and before I have time to brush my teeth or shower or make tea or do yoga, Roux starts jumping on the bed and on my lap, furiously licking me in the face, running around tossing balls and bones every which way, demanding my attention. It’s not enough anymore to just let him out into the backyard. He wants to play. And even after an hour of running around at the park, he gets home and goes straight for the toys. By mid-afternoon, he finally falls asleep. But the minute Anders gets home, he’s at it again, running full speed from one end of the house to the other, purposefully dropping his bone on the floor and sliding it around to make as much noise as possible. Forget about having a conversation or watching a movie. I’m sure a nice cocktail would take the edge off, but since we don’t drink much I usually opt for a mocktail instead.

I was surprised to find cherries at the farmer’s market over the weekend and wanted to do something special with them. This mocktail is rich and robust but still refreshing and perfect for warm summer days. Roasting the cherries with the vanilla bean and maple syrup brings out their sweetness and the smoky black tea and lemon add complexity and a touch of acidity. And if you want to get crazy, try adding some tequila or bourbon.

Enjoy!

Roasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLERoasted Cherry Soda | TENDING the TABLE

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Orange Blossom Water and Poppy Seed Rhubarb Cake

Orange Blossom Water and Poppy Seed Rhubarb Cake | TENDING the TABLEHappy Saturday friends! Last night my friend Kristan and I hosted a little cocktail party for a group of local bloggers. We drank and ate and talked and laughed. It was wonderful to make new friends and build community. This morning after a long walk with the dog, I taught yoga to a small group of friends. Now, we’re eating brunch and watching The Daily Show. So far it’s been a pretty great weekend. I hope you’re having a great weekend too and that this orange blossom water and poppy seed rhubarb cake will make your weekend even better! In the meantime, I’ve got some favorite links for you below. Enjoy!

  1. I watched this TED talk this morning and LOVED it! It gives a really great, scientifically grounded argument against the paleo diet while promoting a diverse, local, seasonal, whole foods diet. Plus there’s some really cool stuff in there about the differences between wild vegetables and our modern ones.
  2. We just got a set of these to help shorten dryer time and save energy when I don’t have time to hang my laundry up! Woohoo!
  3. I can’t wait to make this and this!
  4. This is a great little article about the environmental cost of growing food, something people are starting to think about more and more. It’s about time!
  5. Tara O’Brady’s photos from her recent trip to India are so stunning. They capture a mood and the essence of place so perfectly and have me dreaming about another trip to Mysore.
  6. Obsessed with these hand woven, naturally dyed rugs and can’t wait to fill our future cabin with them.

Orange Blossom Water and Poppy Seed Rhubarb Cake | TENDING the TABLE_DSC6586-3Orange Blossom Water and Poppy Seed Rhubarb Cake | TENDING the TABLE

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Salmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger

Salmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLESalmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLESalmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLEWe just got back from our first camping trip of the season. We hiked through fields of gold and purple wildflowers and lounged in our hammocks by the river. It felt good to be outside breathing the pine scented air and reconnecting with the world around us. Spending time in nature fills me with so much gratitude; gratitude for a healthy body, for fresh, clean water, for bountiful food, and for companionship. Stepping away from the bustle of the city for just a few days allowed me to recognize the power of solitude, but also the indelible impact of community. It’s the people around us who shape our understanding of the world and inform our choices and inspire us. And it’s the farmers and fisherman who shape our understanding of the food on our tables.

Drifters Fish | Photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink

Photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink

Salmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLESalmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLESalmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLESalmon Burgers with Lemongrass and Ginger | TENDING the TABLE

I developed this burger recipe for Drifters Fish, using their wild Copper River salmon. Every summer Nelly and Michael head to Cordova, Alaska to fish the Copper River. They fish sustainably, using a careful system of gillnetting and fishing only when the salmon population is thriving and plentiful. Every spring they sell shares of salmon through their community supported fishery which are then available for pick up in the fall after they return from Alaska. Nelly and Michael are not only passionate about sustainability, but also strive to build community and encourage consumers to #knowyourfisherman.

For these burgers I mixed in some lemongrass and ginger to brighten things up and added roasted red chili paste, cilantro cream and quick pickled cucumber and red onion for the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I think these burgers are pretty darn great and hope you like them too.

This post was sponsored by Drifters Fish. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. I truly believe in this company, their product and their mission. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Raspberry Frozen Yogurt {dairy free}

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt {dairy free} | TENDING the TABLEHappy Saturday friends! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. I’m excited to share this super easy, super delicious, dairy free, raspberry frozen yogurt recipe with you. I made this frozen yogurt the other day while I was cleaning out the fridge. I needed to use some leftover coconut milk and yogurt so I added a little sweetener, some frozen berries and whizzed it all in the blender before popping it into my ice cream maker. Sooo good! I love improvisational cooking like this because it leaves me feeling creative and resourceful. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do and I’d love to hear how you improvise in the kitchen.

P.S. I’m in the Methow Valley this weekend, camping and hiking (you can follow my adventures on instagram and snapchat @sasha.swerdloff).

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Spring Asparagus Salad

Spring Asparagus Salad | TENDING the TABLESpring Asparagus Salad | TENDING the TABLE

I’m a slow reader. I’ve been slowly making my way through The Third Plate for months and recently stumbled upon a passage that really resonated with me. It goes  something like this:

“Our current template for changing the [food] system is to opt out of it: eat seasonally, buy local, choose organic whenever possible. For all the virtues of farm-to-table eating […] the shortcomings of that ethos [are] easy to see. Our job isn’t just to support the farmer; it’s really to support the land that supports the farmer. That’s a larger distinction than it sounds like. Even the most sustainably minded farmers grow crops and raise meats in proportion to what we demand. And what we demand generally throws off the balance of what the land can reasonably provide”.

After reading this paragraph, I initially felt defensive. What do you mean it’s not enough to eat seasonal, local, organic food? What else can I do? How do you expect me to change the entire food system? But then I realized how pervasive this “template” really is. We do one good thing and tell ourselves that it’s enough. But, there is always more we can do.

I was recently approached by a company about some sponsored work. I was tempted by the offer because it paid well, but when I began to look into the product they wanted me to promote, I felt uncomfortable. The company claimed to be committed to preserving the land for future generations. To them this meant gradually transitioning to non-gmo production. On the one hand, I was impressed by their efforts to do good, but ultimately felt like this company was doing one thing and then opting out. How can you claim to be committed to sustainability while farming 170 thousand acres of conventional soybeans? I’m sharing this story with you, not because I’m looking to discredit a product or win validation, but to emphasize how there is always more to learn and consider and that what we learn ultimately impacts the decisions we make. Our food system is complex and convoluted, but in my mind, it’s worth parsing out the interconnected pieces to discover how your choices impact the planet.

In The Third Plate, Dan Barber suggests that chefs, (I’d include food bloggers too), have the power to influence the palate of the people and control the demand for certain products. I think he’s right and I’m troubled when I see that ramps are in danger of extinction due to high demand at restaurants and farmers markets or that the popularity of quinoa in the U.S. makes it unaffordable for the native populations who have relied on it for centuries. I don’t expect you to boycott ramps or quinoa, but hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, I can encourage you to think differently about what and how you eat. No decision is without its pros and cons, but every bite we take changes the world.

Spring Asparagus Salad | TENDING the TABLESpring Asparagus Salad | TENDING the TABLESpring Asparagus Salad | TENDING the TABLE

This has been my go to spring salad for a few years now. It’s bright and simple. I love all the green and the variety of textures and flavors. I sometimes add some diced avocado, brown rice or chickpeas to make it a little heartier and switch up the toasted nuts from time to time. Almonds are good, as are pistachios or pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

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Coconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb

Coconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLEI’ve got a long list of all the things I want to grow when we’re finally settled in one place for more than a few years. It includes all the usual perennial suspects: lilacs, peonies, apples, plums, pears, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, and of course rhubarb. I thought i’d have enough time here in Seattle to establish a hearty rhubarb crop, but despite growing up watching my mom in the garden, growing things doesn’t come naturally to me. I planted a few rhubarb starts when we first arrived in Seattle three years ago, but they died that first year. I thought they were gonners and resigned myself to buying rhubarb at the market. To my surprise, a few fragile red stalks crowned with pale green leaves popped up this spring. There won’t be anything to harvest this year, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to pick a few stalks next year. In the meantime, I’m forced to forage around the neighborhood when I want some rhubarb with the leaves still attached for styling. Yes, I stole the rhubarb. Now, let’s be clear. This is probably the most rebellious thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m terrified of getting in trouble and hate confrontation. So it was a big deal when I pulled over in front of someone’s house, casually got out of the car with an empty tote bag over my shoulder, looked around suspiciously, and hastily yanked a few stalks from the unassuming plant. I stuffed the rhubarb in my bag, jumped in the car and sped off as if I’d just robbed a bank. By the time I got home I felt embarrassed and wracked with guilt but decided to make the most of my precious loot. So I decided to poach the rhubarb in Steven Smith Teamaker’s  Big Hibiscus tea with ginger, rose and elderflower and spoon it over coconut almond brioche french toast, for a perfectly decadent brunch. Why not?

This hibiscus tea pairs perfectly with the tart rhubarb and rich nuttiness of the french toast, plus I love knowing that I’m supporting a local business  that takes pride in sourcing high quality teas from around the world while supporting the communities it works with. 

Coconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLECoconut Almond Brioche French Toast with Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb | TENDING the TABLE*This post was sponsored by Steven Smith Teamaker. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. Note: Steven Smith Teamaker now has two tasting rooms in Portland, OR where they offer tea on tap, gaiwan service and a new tea latte every month.

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Spring Panzanella

Spring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLEThe spring cleaning bug has invaded our house and our lives. I’ve been furiously scrubbing and dusting, organizing, gardening, purging the garage of three years worth of accumulated stuff and trying to stay sane throughout it all. More often than not, after a long day of cleaning,  I find myself without a dinner plan. Luckily, we almost always have a loaf of good bread on hand and the garden is putting out all sorts of herbs and greens. This time of year we find ourselves eating a hearty salad for dinner almost every night. Sometimes I’ll throw in some legumes, nuts or grains or some pieces of bread fried in herbs and garlic until crisp and golden.

Spring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLEFor this recipe I used Grand Central Bakery’s peasant levain. Their breads are a staple in our house and I love knowing that I’m not only getting a great loaf of bread but that I’m also supporting a local business that shares my values. Grand Central Bakery began with one woman selling homemade bread on a small island in the San Juans. Today, the company has grown substantially, but is still a family run business and remains true to its mission to use the best sustainable and local ingredients including stone-ground, whole wheat flours grown by small Pacific Northwest Farmers who care about preserving the soil and the environment.

I truly believe that what we eat matters, not only for our health, but for the health of the planet. Even when I’m hungry and tired I try to create a meal using ingredients and products that I can feel good about eating and sharing with others.

Spring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLESpring Panzanella | TENDING the TABLE*This post was sponsored by Grand Central Bakery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. Note: Every Tuesday throughout April and May, Grand Central Bakery is offering free samples and discounted loaves to customers.

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Lindsey’s Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle

Lindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLE

When I got home from Australia, after eighteen hours of travel, the first thing I did was clean the house. The second thing I did was take the dogs to the park. And the third thing I did was flip through the three new cookbooks that had arrived in the mail while I was away. The prospect of discovering new recipes to make and to share is enough to make me giddy and I never get tired of studying how thoughtful styling can communicate and evoke emotion. Lindsey’s new book, Chickpea Flour Does It All, contains a myriad of gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian recipes that showcase the beauty of eating seasonally. I’ve been a fan of Lindsey’s blog and her styling for some time and the recipes and photographs in her new cookbook remain true to her minimal and warm aesthetic. Her work always highlights the simple beauty and luxuriousness of wholesome ingredients and her recipes evoke a love of self and others that is inspiring. I can’t wait to try her chocolate banana loaf, stuffed squash blossoms with macadamia ricotta, blackberry lime cobbler, and celery root latkes and Anders has already demanded that I make him the chickpea frites.

Congratulations Lindsey! You’ve created something truly beautiful that will inspire cooks around the world to eat more thoughtfully.

Lindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLELindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLELindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLELindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLELindsey's Chickpea Pizza with Asparagus and Pea Shoot Tangle | TENDING the TABLE

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Australia

Australia Workshop | TENDING the TABLE

Hello from Sydney! I’m excited to share some of my adventures with you here on the blog. I landed in Sydney last Wednesday after sixteen hours of travel and immediately made my way three hours west to the Blue Mountains for a workshop with Luisa Brimble and Marta Greber. Despite the jetlag and fatigue, which made me feel a bit nauseous and dizzy, I was thrilled to be out in the country on Sophie’s beautiful farm. The workshop was full of magical moments, picnics in the olive grove and the paddock, long table meals, laughter,  creativity and learning. Luisa is so spirited and positive and her passion and enthusiasm for photography is totally contagious. And Marta is just the sweetest. She’s humble and poised and so willing to share her knowledge and expertise. I feel like I really got the chance to hone in on my technical camera skills, deepen my understanding of how to manipulate natural light, and  experiment with new ways of styling. I returned to Sydney Friday night and met up with Anders for a romantic dinner and a short visit. He’s now off in the middle of nowhere immersed in the study of architecture. My mom flew in Saturday and we’ve been busy  exploring Sydney’s beaches, neighborhoods and cafes all week.  I’ve put together a list of my favorites below. For now, I hope you enjoy these photos from the workshop.

Australia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLEAustralia Workshop | TENDING the TABLE

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Fried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste

Fried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEI leave for Australia in just a few days. I’m busy packing and compiling an enormous list of restaurants to check out. If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them. I’ll be doing a workshop with Luisa Brimble and Marta Greber for the first few days, then I’ll be traveling around with my mom and meeting up with Anders on the weekends. He’ll be studying with some famous architect on a farm somewhere the whole time. But mom and I are excited to see the sites, explore the coast and hang out.

Fried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEFried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEFried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEThis recipe was inspired by a dish I had at Bollywood Theatre in Portland a few weeks ago. It’s super simple and packed with flavor. The cauliflower is crispy on the outside and creamy inside and is smothered in rich roasted red chili paste, spicy sriracha and sour lime juice. Enjoy and keep up with my adventures abroad by following me on instagram.

Fried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEFried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLEFried Cauliflower with Roasted Red Chili Paste | TENDING the TABLE

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Masala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce

Masala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce | TENDING the TABLEThe more I examine the workings of my own mind, the more confused I become. I keep hoping that practicing mindfulness will help me find more peace and certainty, but instead I’m faced with the ironic realization that the more I try to understand, the less I know. So instead of trying to comprehend it all, I’m trying to simply live in the present moment instead of thinking about what might happen in the future. It’s all those “what if’s” that seem to get me into trouble. I don’t know about you, but my mind can get pretty carried away imagining things that may or may not happen. It seems like it’s the “what if’s” that  spring from my most fundamental fears that cause the most anxiety and pain. So, this week, I’ve been making a really concerted effort to stay focused on the present moment, and when that fails I try to think about my hopes for the future. Anders and I are in the process of making some big plans. A dream that we’ve shared since we met eight years ago is finally coming to fruition and I’m both excited, inspired and, as always, a little scared. I promise to share all the details with you when it’s a done deal. For now, I’ll just say that the changes ahead are reinvigorating my aspirations to live a truly sustainable life. I recently heard about the zero waste home and found myself  giddy with excitement at the idea of taking sustainability more seriously. A few things I’m excited to incorporate into my life: using cloth bags for purchasing bulk items and produce, giving and receiving experiences instead of material gifts, and switching to bulk cleaning supplies and homemade hygiene products. If you have any favorite tips or tricks that help you live more sustainably I’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, I hope you have a great rest of your week and that you enjoy these crispy roasted potatoes topped with  a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce and toasted Indian spices. Enjoy!

Masala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce | TENDING the TABLEMasala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce | TENDING the TABLEMasala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce | TENDING the TABLEMasala Potatoes with Tamarind Sauce | TENDING the TABLE

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Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze

Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEEvery morning Anders makes me a cup of green tea. He got hooked on it while taking a class on Japanese architecture and while I was skeptical at first, now I’m hooked too. However, until now, I haven’t ventured into the popular world of matcha flavored treats. It took a little tweaking, but these donuts are pretty tasty. The combo of chocolate and matcha is perfect and they would be great for St. Patty’s Day. Enjoy! P.S. I promise to have more to say next week. I’m multi-tasking and watching Gilmore Girls and things just got crazy!Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLEChocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze | TENDING the TABLE

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Smoky Chili with Quinoa

Smoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLEAnders went skiing without me a few weekends ago. While it feels as if spring is right around the corner here in Seattle, there’s still plenty of snow up in the mountains. I miss the snow. I miss the soft weight of fresh powder, the cool, crisp air, and cozying up at the end of a long day outside with a warm bowl of chili. I whipped up this chili last week after Anders told me about one he had while he was at Mt. Baker. I added some paprika for extra smokiness, maple syrup to sweeten it a bit, quinoa…just because, and masa to thicken the chili. I hope you’re enjoying the end of winter. Enjoy!

Smoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLESmoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLESmoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLESmoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLESmoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLESmoky Chili with Quinoa | TENDING the TABLE

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Baked Eggs on Toast

Baked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLEBaked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLEBaked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLEA few weeks ago I hosted a benefit brunch with Eva Flores  for the Oregon Food Bank.  Eva generously opened her home and our guests mingled over cups of hot coffee and glasses of orange, carrot, ginger juice. A representative from the food bank outlined their programs including their cooking matters, learning gardens, and seed to suppers programs which help educate low income families about cooking healthy food and gardening. I was impressed by the scope of their work and their appreciation. We served sheeps milk yogurt parfaits with ginger lemon granola and pear preserves my mom and I made. Eva made hazelnut baked french toast spiked with frangelico and orange zest. Finally, we served these baked eggs nestled in a tangy tomatillo sauce, leeks and kale. They were a big hit at the brunch and would make a great Valentine’s brunch too.

A big thank you to all of our sponsors who helped make this brunch possible:

Heart Coffee Roasters

Bellwether Farms

Tabor Bread

Commonwealth Rentals

Hilary Horvath Flowers

Felt and Fat

The Modern Proper

Happy Valentine’s!

Baked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLEBaked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLEBaked Eggs on Toast | TENDING the TABLE

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