10 Simple Swaps For A More Sustainable Kitchen

Hey friends! Today I’m sharing 10 simple swaps for a more sustainable kitchen. These swaps are easy to implement and are a great way to reduce waste, use less plastic, and save money in the long run by investing in reusable, longer lasting items. Some of these things, like composting, you can start doing right away, but other things you may want to phase in gradually depending on what kitchen items you already have on hand. Throwing out what you have to replace it with something “more sustainable” isn’t very sustainable, so please be mindful of how and when you make these swaps. Now, let’s get to it!

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Perfect Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh hey there! Just popping in real quick to share my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. These are seriously THE BEST! They’re crispy around the edges, chewy in the middle, and sooo chocolatey. Plus, they’re vegan! I’ve been trying to eat less butter (because cows, climate change, etc.) but really love warm chocolate chip cookies (they just make me feel so cozy) so challenged myself to come up with something just as good as the real deal without the butter. This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz’s salted butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. I used ground flax, cultured vegan butter, coconut sugar, and sifted red fife flour to create a cookie that is both healthy and delicious. I like to make a big batch of this cookie dough and have it in the fridge so I can bake a few cookies when the need arises. I hope you like these as much as I do. Continue reading for the recipe.

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Butternut Squash Kitchari

Ayurveda is all about tuning into the world around us and living our lives in conjunction with the seasons. As the seasons change, certain doshas become more present in the environment and also in our bodies and minds. These seasonal transitions can be challenging and cause imbalances to arise in the form of fatigue, headaches, weight gain, skin issues, poor digestion, frequent colds etc. In order to maintain balance and optimal health, Ayurveda recommends following a seasonal routine and doing regular seasonal cleansing in order to reestablish healthy digestion, support the body’s innate healing processes, eliminate toxins, and guide the body back to its natural state of balance.

A full Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse, involves a preparatory phase (simplifying one’s diet and enkindling digestion), a process of internal oleation (consuming liquified ghee on an empty stomach to initiate fat metabolism and pull toxins from the fat cells), a kitchari mono diet, herbal supplements, daily oil massage and steam therapy, a purge to eliminate toxins, and a process of rejuvenation, post cleanse. Sound like a lot? Doing a full Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse can feel overwhelming, complicated, and unrealistic. Luckily, doing a modified version can still have profound impacts on your digestion and overall health. Continue reading to learn how to do a modified Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse and to get the recipe for this butternut squash kitchari…

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Everyday Ayurvedic Essentials

Someone asked me recently how often I actually use Ayurveda in my day to day life. The answer is ALL THE TIME. Ayurveda forms the foundation and the framework for the decisions I make about daily routine, diet, exercise and so much more. That’s what I love about Ayurveda; once you understand the basic principles, you can apply them to pretty much anything and everything (if you want to get started learning about Ayurveda, check out the resources page for my favorite books and websites). While Ayurveda informs everything in my life, there are a handful of Ayurvedic practices and principles that I find are essential to living a healthy vibrant life. These are the things that I do every single day and that I feel have the biggest impact on my health and well-being. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to start when incorporating Ayurveda into your life, look no further…

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How to Preserve Basil

This is the final post in my series on simple preserving. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along and that you’ve learned something new and been inspired to do some preserving of your own. Remember that preserving doesn’t need to be complicated, time consuming, or fussy. You don’t need to fully stock your freezer or pantry all at once. It’s about connecting with the seasons, getting to know your local farmers, and reducing packaging waste one ingredient at a time. Throughout this series, I’ve chosen to focus on how to preserve the things that I use regularly based on my dietary preferences. Your preferences may be different and that’s totally fine. Anything is fair game when it comes to putting food by. However, when choosing what to preserve I recommend focusing on things you know you’ll actually use. This may sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many weekends I’ve spent preserving things only to have them take up space in my pantry or freezer all year and then end up in the compost. Think about what you reach for over and over again at the store (jam, pickles, dried fruit, tomato sauce, frozen peas or corn, frozen berries or peaches etc.) and choose one or two things to DIY. You’ll save money, time, and reduce waste by not getting carried away and preserving more than you can use. Now, let’s talk about how to preserve basil.

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How to Preserve Apples

I’m back with another guide to quick and easy, no fuss preserving. This time we’re talking about apples. Fall is definitely in the air around here and the apple trees are sagging with fruit so aside from eating an apple a day with hazelnut butter and honey, I’ve been making applesauce. I always love having a jar or two of applesauce in the freezer for spooning over latkes, mixing up in waffles, eating with yogurt and granola, or, let’s admit it, just eating warm by the spoonful. Applesauce is one of the easiest things to make. Simply quarter your apples (I prefer pink skinned varieties because they yield a pretty pink sauce), toss them in a big pot with a splash of water so they don’t stick and burn, cover, and cook over medium low heat until soft and mushy. Once cooked, press the apples through a food mill, discarding the seeds and skin. Transfer the sauce to small jars, leaving about an inch of room, and freeze. Thaw out overnight when ready to use.  A few other ideas for preserving apples: Slice them and dry them in a dehydrator, make apple juice or cider, or cook up apple pie filling and freeze it for making pie in a pinch. XOXO

How to Preserve Corn

Post number three in my series on simple preserving is all about corn. There are a few things that I always have on hand in the freezer. Frozen corn is one of them but the packaging waste from store bought stuff is starting to bum me out. So, this summer, I’m freezing my own corn. Here’s my plan: Buy several dozen ears of corn, cut the kernels off the cob (mess-free method #2 is where it’s at), and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan before transferring to jars or bags for later. I love cooking frozen corn up with onions and cumin to put on tacos, adding it to chowder or soup, and frying it up in fritters. I’m also considering making a big batch of corn salsa. Share your favorite way to preserve and use corn in the comments below…

How to Preserve Berries

This is the second post in a series exploring my favorite ways to preserve all the late summer and early fall produce without the hassle of sanitizing jars or worrying that you’re going to end up with botulism. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my go to, no fuss methods for putting food by, simple tips and tricks to make preserving easy and fun, and ideas for how to use what you’ve preserved all winter long. I’ve got a handful of short posts lined up that I hope will inspire you to get in the kitchen and do some preserving of your own.

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How to Preserve Tomatoes

I try to avoid buying certain things (like tomatoes) out of season. There’s the carbon footprint associated with buying produce trucked in from who knows where and most things just don’t taste the same out of season. You know what I’m talking about right; those mealy, bland, pale, tomatoes? Insert yucky face here. Preserving allows me to enjoy all my favorite late summer and early fall produce, picked at it’s peak, all winter long, and is also a great way to connect with the seasons, reduce food and packaging waste, and foster a sense of self-sufficiency. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my go to methods for preserving the season’s bounty in a series of posts that I hope will inspire you to do some preserving of your own. Let’s get started!

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#SwapLocal: Sourcing Local and Sustainable Ingredients

This post is a little different (no recipe) so bear with me…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where my food comes from. Time and time again, convenience takes precedence and despite my best efforts, I sometimes lose sight of  where my food comes from and how and by whom it’s grown and produced. Consuming things like coconut milk, almonds, avocados, and chocolate has far reaching environmental and social implications I often push to the back of my mind or don’t fully understand. What if instead of taking these foods for granted, we reevaluated the impact of the ingredients we use daily and challenged ourselves to replace them with local and sustainable alternatives? That’s what this post is all about.

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Heirloom Tomato Tart with Cashew Ricotta and Zaatar

I’m standing in the kitchen in my bare feet and a t-shirt, looking out the window. My sense of place and time fade with the fuzzy and fading horizon. I haven’t been able to open the windows or go outside for two days. When I do go outside the air is heavy with smoke; oppressive. My chest tightens, my throat burns, and my heart aches. Is this how it’s going to be from now on? I’m overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness, frustration, resentment, shame, and sadness. Nature is speaking through the flames, begging us to pay attention, to care, and to change. I’m listening. Are you? Maybe it’s too late, maybe not, but I refuse to live the rest of my life on this precious planet with apathy. My choices matter. Our choices matter. Now, more than ever, we must choose wisely my friends.

What we choose to eat today, shapes the world we inhabit tomorrow. So, during the month of September I’ll be reconnecting with what sustainability means to me by only eating food that has been grown and produced within a 200 mile radius. My friend Andrea who owns and operates a small organic farm here in the Columbia Gorge came up with the idea for #localthirty and I’m excited to be joining in (although due to some travel plans at the end of the month my local 30 will be more like a local 20). I’m eager to support more of our local farmers and producers, to rediscover what the intersection of food and place looks like, and to step back and reevaluate the environmental impact of the ingredients I use daily. I’ll be eliminating things like almonds and coconut milk and finding new sources for basic staples like beans, grains, and salt. I’ll be including a handful of non-local items or “cheats” in my diet just to keep myself sane. For me, this process is about connecting with the network of farmers and producers in my area, learning about their work, and examining how the food I eat gets to my table. It’s also about noticing the food I take for granted and asking myself if there’s a more sustainable alternative. As always, my health will be a factor in what I choose to eat, but I’ll also consider ecological impact, carbon emissions, packaging waste, and social responsibility among other things by sourcing organic ingredients and focusing on products I can get from local retailers and in bulk. I’d love to have you join me in whatever capacity works for you. That might mean eating one meal a week that’s entirely local, choosing one ingredient to #swaplocal, doing the local 15, or joining in for the whole shebang. You can learn more about the project and find tips and resources from Andrea here. And if you’re interested I’d be happy to share my list of local producers with you as well. Just let me know…

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Broccoli Crunch Salad with Creamy Cashew Honey Mustard Dressing

We have a zillion heads of broccoli in the garden right now and I’m desperately trying to eat them all before they go to seed. I’ve been making scrambled eggs with broccoli, steamed broccoli with smokey tempeh crumbles and vegan caesar dressing, cold tahini noodles with broccoli and toasted sesame seeds, and this broccoli salad with all the crunchy things. It’s got crispy coconut bacon, toasted slivered almonds, puffed quinoa, and sesame seeds and is smothered in a creamy cashew honey mustard dressing. Continue reading for the recipe and some thoughts on hunger and food waste…

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Charred Zucchini With Toasted Pine Nut Relish, Yogurt, and Mint

We fall asleep each night to a cool breeze coming in through the wide open windows and wake up each morning to the sound of the birds. Every weekend is packed with feel good adventures (hikes to the river, bike rides, hangs by the pool, berry picking, farmer’s markets, brunch with friends). I’m getting outside, witnessing the beauty and resiliency of nature, moving my body, and breaking a sweat every day, eating food straight from the dirt, and making time for friends and community. Despite all the wrong in the world, I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. All of this is thanks to an impulsive move back to the country. Here’s to trusting your gut, being the change, letting go of the need for certainty, and living your best life. Big hugs to all of you! Continue reading for the recipe for this summery charred zucchini with toasted pine nut relish, yogurt, and mint and some link love…

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Rhubarb Yogurt Pops

Hi there! I’m back after a few months away from work and social media. I’ve been focusing on getting settled in at our new place, eating well, gardening, spending time with friends and family, and getting outside daily. Reconnecting with nature and community has helped me feel stronger, more grounded, and more able to be fully present and vulnerable in this space. So here goes…

I’ve always had issues with my skin, but a few years ago things got worse. I developed hyper pigmentation on my forehead and perioral dermatitis on my chin. Despite doing everything I could think of (cutting out dairy, gluten, and all sugar, eating plenty of healthy fats, taking supplements, staying well hydrated, exercising daily, focusing on stress reduction, and balancing my hormones) nothing seemed to make a difference. I tried a variety of non-toxic skin care products, oil cleansing, jade rolling, and skin brushing. I saw an acupuncturist, naturopath, and dermatologist and still saw no improvement. The longer my breakouts and PD persisted, the more time I spent looking in the mirror, obsessing over my skin, hating myself, feeling like a failure, and wallowing in shame every time I had to show my face in public.

Last week I posted on Instagram about my struggle with negative body image issues. In response, I received dozens of inspiring and supportive comments that have helped me feel less alone and more hopeful. I wanted to share some of them with you here. If you are struggling with negative body image issues, I hope that some of these tips are helpful. And remember, you are not alone.

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Broccoli Stem and Nettle Fettuccine Alfredo with Almond Ricotta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

A few weeks ago my friend Sophie, of Wholehearted Eats, came down for a visit. While she was in town, we ate ice cream, walked in the park, and developed the recipe for this Broccoli Stem and Nettle Fettuccine Alfredo. The sauce for this pasta is pretty magical. Nutrient rich broccoli stems and nettles are blanched then blended with loads of lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and high quality, extra virgin olive oil for a smooth and creamy pasta sauce perfect for spring. Continue reading for the recipe and some tips for purchasing packaged goods with sustainability in mind…

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Adaptogenic Chyawanprash Rooibos Latte

In honor of Earth Day, I’ve partnered with some of my favorite bloggers to raise awareness about the environmental impact of plastics and to share some ways to reduce plastic waste (be sure to follow the hashtag #breakupwithplastic to see all the other posts). There are so many ways to have a positive impact and I know it can feel overwhelming at times, which is why I’ve put together a list of simple tips to get you started. What’s important is to commit to something that resonates with you and that feels achievable. Don’t try and change too much all at once and remember that nobody’s perfect, but we can all do better.

One thing I’ve been working on lately is reducing the amount of plastic packaging I bring into my kitchen. Last week I went through my fridge and pantry and pulled out everything in plastic packaging. I was surprised by the amount of packaged food I still regularly buy (miso, frozen fruits and veggies, ketchup, sriracha, nori, pasta etc.) despite my best efforts to eat whole foods and mostly plants. Laying everything out on the counter served as a powerful visual reminder that I can do better. For me this means making more of an effort to source ingredients in bulk, buying extra produce like rhubarb, peas, corn, and berries in season and freezing them for the rest of the year, and making things from scratch as much as possible. One of my favorite things to make from scratch is nut milk. Store bought nut milks often come in plastic bottles and contain harmful additives. And the homemade stuff tastes so much better. So today I’m sharing the recipe for my homemade almond milk and this Adaptogenic Chyawanprash Rooibos Latte made with floral rooibos tea, vanilla, and spicy, sweet chyawanprash. Continue reading for the recipe and some more tips to reduce plastic waste…

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Oatmeal Cookie Bites from The Minimalist Kitchen

I’ve been munching on these oatmeal cookie bites from The Faux Martha’s new book The Minimalist Kitchen all week. They’re simple, healthy, and make a perfect snack. Be sure to check out Melissa’s book for weeknight meal inspiration and kitchen organization tips and continue reading for the recipe. I’ll be back next week with a vibrant spring recipe and some earth day inspiration for you. XO

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Pistachio Rose Matcha Latte

Grief doesn’t come in five linear phases like they say. It’s unpredictable and unreasonable. At least that’s been my experience. It’s been over two years since my sister committed suicide and  even though I don’t feel that deep, aching sadness on a daily basis anymore, I have no doubt that the grief has lodged itself deep in my bones. When I least expect it, it rears its ugly, beautiful head and breaks free in showers of tears, shudders and moans, thrashing and roaring, leaving an exhausted, shattered, shell in its wake. But, as painful and depleting as it can be, I believe that sometimes we need to experience that emptiness in order to find fullness again.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we’re taught from an early age not to express certain emotions. How sadness, grief, anger, frustration and even elation are all taboo. We’re taught to take a deep breath and remain calm. Otherwise, we’re “crazy.” What if instead, we were taught to let it all go; to express our feelings freely, however they choose to manifest themselves? I think we’d all be happier, healthier human beings if we felt free to laugh uncontrollably, dance in the streets, yell, sob, moan, and shake.

Last month, during my seasonal Ayurvedic cleanse, while lying in shavasana one day, I lost control of my body and started crying, shaking, flailing and screaming. The episode lasted only a few minutes, but to be honest, it scared me a little. I felt totally out of control (something that’s always been hard for me) and immediately started wondering if I was losing it and having a mental breakdown (an ongoing fear of mine that I’ve been working on). In reality, it was just my body letting go of some of that grief and anger I’d been holding onto for years. Afterwards, I felt lighter and freer; a weight lifted. There was more room in my heart for all the good stuff. I’ve heard from multiple people who have had similar experiences and feel more strongly than ever that expressing our emotions is essential for long term mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, don’t be afraid to feel. To quote one of my favorite childhood songs, “It’s alright to feel things, though the feelings may be strange.”

And after you’ve listened to the song and had a good, long, ugly, beautiful cry, go make yourself a cozy Pistachio Rose Matcha Latte. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Green Pea Hummus from First We Eat

Happy Spring! I hope you’re all enjoying the warmer weather, the blossoms and buds, more time outside breathing fresh air, and all the green things. This Green Pea Hummus from my friend Eva’s new cookbook, First We Eat, epitomizes Spring and I’m excited to be sharing the recipe with you today. I first met Eva four years ago in Portland. I had just started Tending the Table and was eager for advice and mentorship. Being the kind and generous person that she is, Eva agreed to meet with me, no questions asked. I remember being amazed by her openness and encouragement. She wasn’t worried about competition; she just wanted to share her passion for food and photography with the world. Over the years Eva and I have become friends, bonding over our shared love of dogs, cooking from scratch, backyard chickens, homesteading and nature. Eva is bubbly, bright, strong and unstoppable. She’s an incredibly talented photographer and a thoughtful cook and her new book is exceptional. Organized by season, First We Eat, is packed with stunning photographs (seriously, jaw-droppingly, stunning), delicious recipes,  sustainable sourcing guides and gardening tips. Be sure to check it out and continue reading for some link love and the recipe for Eva’s Green Pea Hummus…

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Beet Hibiscus Rose Cheesecake

Hello there! I’m back after a week away and to celebrate I’m sharing the recipe for this Beet Hibiscus Rose Cheesecake with you. Why am I celebrating? Well, I took last week off to do my annual Ayurvedic seasonal cleanse and it was INTENSE. I’ve been doing this cleanse for years but this time around it was totally different. Maybe because my body really needed it or because I took a break from work and social media to really turn inward. Who knows, but it was physically and emotionally cathartic in a really profound way. I want to share more about my experience with you, but I haven’t quite processed it all. More soon. For now, I’ll just say that I feel like my body really worked through some stuff in a healthy and productive way. I’m spending this week rejuvenating and nourishing, which means lots of healthy fats, and soothing and grounding flavors. That’s where this cheesecake comes in. I used a base of soaked cashews and coconut milk and added Mountain Rose Herbs’ beet root powder for its rosy color and sweet, sweet flavor. Bright, tangy hibiscus flower powder and floral rose water balance out the earthiness of the beets. It’s creamy, rich and makes a perfect post-cleanse treat. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Epic Savory Breakfast Bowl

Hey friends! It’s been a little crazy around here with the puppy (he and Roux are currently running the length of the house, wrestling, smashing into tables and chairs, yelping and panting, squeaking all the squeaky toys, and just generally creating chaos) but I wanted to pop in real quick and share the recipe for this epic savory breakfast bowl with you. I first made this breakfast bowl a few weeks ago in the Methow. Then, I made it again at the blogger retreat in Palm Springs. It was such a big hit both times that I decided to share it with you here. It’s hearty and satisfying with brown rice, spinach, avocado, miso honey glazed carrots, turmeric fried eggs, cilantro, and a creamy maple cumin dressing. Basically, it’s my dream breakfast! I hope you love it as much as I do. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Palm Springs

I spent last weekend at a blogger retreat in sunny Palm Springs. The weekend was filled with poolside plant based ice cream parties, diy facials, early morning walks, homemade chickpea pasta, roasted sweet potato tacos, epic falafel bowls with magic sauce, watermelon cilantro limeade and hibiscus iced tea, savory breakfast bowls (recipe coming next week), hikes in Joshua Tree, yoga, and long talks about purpose, passion and how to make the world a better place. There were so many moments of pure joy, uncontrollable laughter, raw emotion, vulnerability, honesty, and love and I can’t help but feel amazed by the deep friendships that formed in just a few days. So much is possible when we create space for each other. Eva, Shelly, Trisha, Sarah, Renee, Lindsay, Carly, Kimberley, Sophie, and Lily, thank you from the bottom of my heart and see you next year! Continue reading for some photos from the weekend…

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Millet Polenta with Spring Vegetables and Greens from Simply Vibrant

I’m in Palm Springs for the weekend with some of my favorite blogger friends. We’ll be hiking in Joshua Tree, hanging by the pool, and of course cooking and eating. But, before I check out for the weekend I wanted to share the recipe for this Millet Polenta with Spring Vegetables and Greens from Anya Kassoff’s new book Simply Vibrant. This is the perfect recipe to welcome spring. It’s bright and lemony, a little nutty, and pairs perfectly with tender sweet peas and bitter greens. Enjoy! Continue reading

Horchata Mocha Latte

We all breathe. It’s what keeps us alive. In fact, we each take over 23,000 involuntary and unnoticed breaths every day. Intentional breath work (paying attention to and harnessing the breath) is a powerful tool that helps reduce stress, balance Vata, Pitta and Kpaha and improve mood and energy. Breath work is an important part of my morning routine and one of my favorite mindfulness and healing techniques. It can be as simple as focusing on the inhale and the exhale, noticing the rise and fall of the chest, breathing fully into the abdomen, diaphragm, side ribs and chest or listening to the soothing, rhythmic sound of each inhale and exhale. I typically do breath work after my yoga practice and before meditation but it can be done any time you feel like you need it. I like to start with three deep, mindful breaths then do a series of various breathing techniques, finishing with a cooling breath because this Pitta girl is always hot! I’ve listed three of my favorite breathing techniques below along with their effects on the doshas, benefits, and contraindications. You can choose the technique that feels right for you based on how you’re feeling in the moment or do all three in the order listed below. These practices take less than five minutes to do and can be done by almost anyone, anywhere. Keep in mind that these techniques are best learned in person from a qualified teacher. That said, I’ve included video links below to introduce you to the basics and get you started.

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Curried Black Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower

Let’s talk about compost…Growing up, we always fed our food scraps to the chickens. Here in Seattle, we are lucky to have free curbside composting. But, I know that for many people composting isn’t mainstream or easy and can feel daunting. So, I wanted to share some information and some options with you in case you’re interested in composting but don’t know where to start. I am by no means an expert on this topic and hope that those of you with more experience will share your wisdom with us in the comments. With that said, here’s my guide to compositing as well as the recipe for these Curried Black Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower…

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Simple Celeriac Soup

I’m feeling a little under the weather today so I’m staying bundled up, slurping soup, and doing a little extra self-care. Whenever I feel a cold coming on I make sure to do neti and nasya twice a day to keep my sinuses clear. I also like to mega dose on Sambu Guard and this tincture to boost my immune system. I try to keep my diet simple and drink lots of tea with lemon and raw honey. This protocol usually does the trick and prevents me from getting a full blown cold. I know everyone has their own home remedies for staying healthy and I’m always looking for new ideas. What are your favorite ways to fight off a cold? Comment below.

In other news, don’t forget to sign up for my Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse Workshop here in Seattle. This cleanse is one I learned from my teacher and have been doing twice a year for the past eight years. It has been transformational for me and  I’m excited to share it with you. It includes internal oleation, a week long kitchari cleanse, daily epsom salts baths and self-massage, and herbs and teas to encourage cellular detoxification, healthy digestion, stable blood sugar, and lymph flow. During the workshop we’ll cover the basics of Ayurveda, how to make ghee, and go over the cleanse protocol in detail. You’ll leave with recipes, resources, and a take home cleanse kit with everything you need to get started. This cleanse is an opportunity to set the stage for optimal health and well-being by adopting a simple diet, nourishing the body and mind, and letting go of old habits and patterns in order to come closer to your true nature.

You can learn more about the cleanse and register HERE. Space is limited so sign up before it’s too late.

In the meantime, I’ve got this Celeriac Soup recipe for you as requested. It’s super simple but so creamy and nourishing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

XO

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Toasted Coconut Sleepy Time Milk

I made Toasted Coconut Sleepy Time Milk! The toasted coconut flavor reminds me of warm, tropical beaches and the lull of ocean waves even though I’m stuck here in gray, rainy Seattle. I added ghee and cinnamon to help stabilize my blood sugar and nutmeg to calm my nervous system and help me sleep soundly all night long. Continue reading for the recipe and for some thoughts on the medicinal properties of culinary herbs and spices…

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Immune Boosting Roasted Cauliflower Soup

A few weeks ago I met up with Alison Wu at her house in Portland for a little collaboration. I’ve known Ali for years, (we share a mutual friend), and have loved watching her develop her brand and share her message. She’s passionate, curious and bursting with creative energy. If you don’t already follow Alison, be sure to check out her Instagram and blog for some serious inspiration. She focuses on fashion, food, wellness and self-care and is known for her layered smoothies, vibrant salads, matcha potions, and herbal lattes. Together, we developed this immune boosting roasted cauliflower soup to support healthy digestion, boost immunity, and nourish the body during these long winter months when so many of us feel depleted and vulnerable. Continue reading for the recipe and some thoughts on immunity from an Ayurvedic perspective…

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Gingerbread Donuts

Happy Holidays! We’re snuggled up by the fire watching the waves tumble and crash out over endless grays and blues and giving thanks for friends, family, good food, laughter, good health and life on this beautiful earth. I hope wherever you are, you’re happy and healthy too.

If you need a last minute treat for Christmas morning look no further. Last week I made Lindsey’s apple cider donuts and was so pleased with them I decided to riff on her recipe and make a gingerbread version for the holidays. These donuts are spongy and moist with a bright lemon flavor and plenty of ginger and spice to keep you warm and your digestion strong. This batter would also make a great cake or muffins served with lemon curd or coconut whipped cream. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

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Roasted Squash with Creamy Miso Garlic Sauce and Toasted Almond “Breadcrumbs”

Hello friends! I hope you’re all hanging in there and taking good care of yourselves despite the holiday madness. We’re focusing on letting go of “shoulds” this year and are spending our holiday slowing down and taking care of our bodies and minds. We’ll be spending Christmas at the Oregon coast walking on the beach, reading, cooking nourishing meals, and cuddling with the pups. Then we’re heading off to explore new places and do all the yoga and skiing. I’m looking forward to feeling strong and fit again and to some quality alone time with Anders. I hope whatever you have planned brings you joy.

As I reflect on 2017 I feel humbled and grateful. It was a big year for Tending the Table. Winning Editor’s Choice at the Saveur Blog Awards was a dream come true. Thank you again to everyone who voted. It was wonderful to feel recognized and appreciated. But, throughout it all, I also found myself uninspired in the kitchen, grappling with my purpose and reevaluating my intentions and goals. In many ways, this is all still a work in progress so thank you for joining me on the journey as I do my best to figure it all out. Your continued support and encouragement means the world and inspires me to make this space the best that it can be. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

Today’s recipe is  all about comfort. I paired roasted squash with a creamy miso garlic sauce and toasted almond “breadcrumbs” for a hearty, satisfying plate of winter goodness. Continue reading for the recipe and enjoy!

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Spiced Beet Tonic

Period got you down? You’re not alone. It’s one of those things nobody talks about. But we should. It’s not gross. It’s not taboo. It’s part of being a woman and part of life. We can learn so much about ourselves by studying our cycles. All of those pesky PMS symptoms are signs that something it out of balance. It’s an opportunity to confront our bodies and set new intentions; to start fresh.

I feel lucky to have grown up surrounded by women who weren’t afraid to talk about their periods. In fact, they celebrated womanhood and each time one of us girls came of age they’d throw us a party. As the youngest in the community I viewed these celebrations with awe and reverence, waiting year after year for my turn. When it finally came, my mom and all her friends gathered together to pamper me, wash my feet, brush my hair, read me poems and offer me life lessons. Everyone brought a bead and we strung them together into a necklace that I still keep tucked away in my hope chest. Looking back on my coming of age ceremony, I can’t help but cringe a little remembering all the new age pomp. But, despite the chanting, tarot cards and smudge sticks I still feel so grateful to have learned at such an early age to celebrate my womanhood and my body despite the pain, discomfort and inconvenience of each new cycle.

I’ve always struggled with PMS, irritability, cramps, tender breasts (“tender” is an understatement), breakouts, heavy bleeding (and the accompanying anxiety that goes with it every time you have to leave the house and go out in public). In high school and college I took Midol regularly, went on the pill, bought Tampax (with the applicator), pushing aside the fact that I knew that I was essentially bleaching my insides and using unnecessary amounts of plastic. Eventually, my desire for long term health and sustainability outweighed my need for convenience and I switched to hot water bottles and organic unbleached cotton tampons. But, I still didn’t address the underlying causes of my symptoms. Only recently have I started to see my cycle as a reflection of my overall health and wellness and to invest the time and energy into charting my period (I use this app) and incorporating a more comprehensive “ladies’ holiday” self-care routine into my life.

In the Ashtanga tradition, it’s typical to not practice for the first three days of your period. They call it “ladies’ holiday” which I just love. We deserve our own special holiday every month right!? So in honor of “ladies’ holiday” I’ve got the recipe for this Spiced Beet Tonic and some Ayurvedic tips for self-care during that time of the month. Keep in mind that these suggestions are based on my personal experience. As such, they address Pitta type menstrual symptoms (loose stools, heavy bleeding, a burning sensation during urination, fibrocystic breasts, hot flashes, acne, and inflammation). Recommendations will vary for Vata type menstrual symptoms (bloating, cramps, lower back pain, constipation, scanty bleeding or spotting and missed or absent periods) and for Kapha type symptoms (cramps, bloating, water retention, heaviness, and lethargy). If you have questions about how to address symptoms not covered in this post, comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017

HELLO!

The annual Tending the Table Holiday Gift Guide is here! I’m excited to be sharing some of my favorite sustainable,  ethical and hand made products with you including some luxurious self-care items and a few of my go-to kitchen tools I can’t live without. I’ve also compiled a list of several non-profits who are doing really exciting and innovative work to promote sustainable and equitable food systems and lobby for better agricultural policy if you’d prefer to donate to a good cause. Happy holidays!

GIFTING

  1. Veja V-10 BMESH Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles, wild rubber and recycled cotton.
  2. Breville Milk Frother  to take your morning latte to the next level.
  3. Matcha Yuuwa from Stone Leaf Teahouse. Independently owned teahouse and tea importer in Middlebury, VT.
  4. Kika NY City Bag in tan. Handmade in Brooklyn, NY.
  5. Totem Mug in crater white. Handmade in Berkely, CA
  6. The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright. My current favorite right now full of cozy plant based recipes.
  7. Stone Ring by Nicole Ringgold. Made in Winthrop, WA.
  8. Sarada Ayurvedic Remedies Tridoshic Body Oil. Candy for your skin.
  9.  Christy Dawn Marlow Jumper or anything from Christy Dawn. All of their dresses are made with reclaimed deadstock fabric that would otherwise go to waste.
  10. Lock Eat Glass Carafe. Perfect for storing homemade nut milks. Great shape, pours well and is easy to open and close.
  11. Redecker Copper Cleaning Cloth. A great substitute for disposable sponges. Long lasting and recyclable.
  12. Jem Organic Sprouted Hazelnut and Raw Cacoa Nut Butter. This stuff is crack. So freaking good.
  13. Kati Von Lehman Speckled Bowls. Handmade in Portland, OR. Also check out her hanging planters.
  14. Katherine Moes Wall Hanging. Handmade in the PNW.
  15. Weleda Everon Lip Balm. The only lip balm I’ll use.
  16. Hu Kitchen Chocolate Bars. Vegan and refined sugar free. My favorite is the Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa.
  17. Manos Zapotecas Sky Diamonds Pillow. Fair trade home goods and bags hand woven using traditional designs and techniques in Oaxaca, Mexico. Empowering women and supporting communities through socially conscious commerce.

GIVING

  1. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: Advocating for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.
  2. Fibershed: Building a regional textile industry that supports soil health, clean water and social justice.
  3. Methow Conservancy: Protecting farmland and supporting Methow Valley farmers and their work.
  4. Quivira Coalition: Building a coalition of ranchers and farmers practicing regenerative techniques.
  5. Ecotrust: Reimagining a sustainable and equitable food economy.
  6. Point Blue: Using science to develop conservation solutions for working lands.
  7. Food Corps: Connecting kids to healthy food in schools across the country through hands on learning and school cafeteria reform.

Chocolate Olive Oil Torte with Cardamom, Pears and Hazelnuts

Oh hey there! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. And if you’re not, this Chocolate Olive Oil Torte with Cardamom, Pears, and Hazelnuts is sure to make it better. I developed this recipe with my friend Renee a few weeks ago while she was in town for a visit. Renee and I first met last year and quickly discovered our shared interest in yoga, health and wellness and self-care. It was great to spend more time with Renee just hanging out, cooking together, walking on the beach, binge watching Stranger Things, sipping matcha and talking about life goals, love, self-esteem and work. As an introvert I’ve never had an abundance of friends and have always prided myself on my independence, but who am I kidding. We all need friends and I’m finally learning that I need  to spend more time with mine. Spending time with Renee left me feeling rejuvenated and inspired to make this space and my work a truer representation of who I am and all I value. Now, cake. This one is rich and moist with a subtle hint of cardamom and is topped with sliced pears and chopped hazelnuts. The pears lighten things up a bit and balance out all the chocolate while the hazelnuts add a deep nutty flavor. After tasting three different olive oil varieties from California Olive Ranch, we settled on their Arbosana olive oil for its round flavor profile and creaminess. The cake is also gluten free and refined sugar free because that’s how we roll with our desserts around here. This cake is the perfect thing to bring to your next holiday party or for Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Tahini Rose Rooibos Latte

The holidays are upon us which means many of us are traveling, bouncing from one social gathering to another, or bustling around getting everything ready to host friends and family. Either way, if you’re like me, you’ll probably get spun out and need to incorporate some serious self-care to stay grounded, sane and healthy throughout it all. Well don’t worry because I’ve got some tips to pacify all that erratic Vata energy and the recipe for this super cozy Tahini Rose Rooibos Latte for you. This latte was inspired by a recent visit from my friend Renee. She whipped up the most amazing herbal latte for our impromptu meet-up here in Seattle which inspired me to switch up my morning drink routine and try my hand at an herbal latte of my own. Tahini makes this drink super creamy and cozy, cinnamon adds warmth and spice and the rose water calms the mind. Continue reading for some Ayurvedic tips and the recipe…

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Twice Roasted Maple Harissa Sweet Potatoes

Have I already told you about this book? Anders read it last year and I’m finally getting around to reading it myself. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve felt inspired and hopeful about the future of our food system and the planet. I don’t know about you guys, but there are days when Anders and I want to drop everything and run away to the country to build a self-sufficient life away from all the hatred and backward thinking policies and systems. There are just so many variables and it’s hard to know what things will really make a difference. So much so that I sometimes feel lost in a sea of good intentions. Since the Saveur Awards last month I’ve been examining my work, my purpose, and my goals. For now I’m exploring and learning. I’ve been looking into food studies masters programs, connecting with various non-profits, considering several conferences, and reading things like The Soil Will Save Us. If you’re interested in sustainable agriculture and mitigating climate change this book is a must read. It’s all about how no till practices, diversified plantings, and intentional grazing pull carbon from the atmosphere, create habitat for insects, birds and microorganisms, and create healthy, productive soil that saves farmers time and money. It’s so well written and full of compelling stories, charming interviews and just the right amount of science. I’ve dog-eared a half dozen pages with references to regenerative agriculture pioneers and organizations doing innovative work to reform our agricultural system. Anyways, I’m loving it and you should check it out.  Now, let’s talk about these Twice Roasted Maple Harissa Sweet Potatoes. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Fall Panzanella with Roasted Squash and Creamy Lemon Pepper Dressing

I few weekends ago I met up with six other bloggers on Fox Island. We spent our time together hanging out by the fire, cooking, exploring the nearby beaches and towns, and catching up. We also styled and photographed a cocktail hour, a dinner, and a brunch and we’re each sharing a recipe from the weekend over the next month or so. Keep an eye out for Shelly’s Roasted Grape Crostini with Chevré and Rosemary, Krissy’s Smokey Aubergine Spread, Trisha’s Shakshuka with Chevré and Fresh Herbs, and Natalie’s Coconut French Toast with Poached Apples and Pecans. I made this Fall Panzanella with Roasted Squash and Creamy Lemon Pepper Dressing to go with Alanna’s Golden Vegetable Chickpea Minestrone with Lemon Parsley Oil and Eva’s Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Drizzle. The whole weekend was made possible by La Brea Bakery who generously sponsored the event. It was so fun to taste all the different breads and to learn about the baking process. For example, they’ve been using the same starter since 1989 and every loaf rises for at least 24 hours. I think the cranberry walnut loaf was my favorite, but the sesame semolina loaf that I used for this panzanella was equally great. It has a crispy crust and soft, flavorful inside that holds up well…perfect for toasting and serving in a salad. Oh and did I mention how amazing it was to sit by the fire, listening to the sound of the rain, with the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the cabin? Well, it was amazing! Keep reading for the recipe…

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Pecan Date and Coconut Slice and Bake Cookies

Hey friends. Some of you have been asking about the Saveur Blog Awards which made me realize that I should have announced the big news here and not just on Instagram. Honestly, I’ve been struggling to process the whole thing and at a loss for how to best communicate all my feelings. I’ll keep working on it but in the meantime in case you missed it…. I won Editor’s Choice for the Most-Inspired Weeknight Dinners! The awards were full of good food, more cocktails than I typically drink in a year, panel discussions with industry leaders, and all the biscuits! It was great to get to know some of the other finalists and to explore beautiful Charleston and I feel flattered and honored to be recognized for my work. I couldn’t have done it without you so thank for your support and love. I feel so lucky to be able to share my passion for food, wellness, and sustainability with you and am excited to see what the future will bring. Thank you again!

Now, on to these Pecan Date and Coconut Slice and Bake Cookies. The holidays are quickly approaching so why not add another cookie recipe to the mix? You can never have too many cookies if you ask me. Anders’ mom always bakes up a half dozen or so different kinds for the holidays, most of which are old family recipes. My favorite are her springerle which are studded with anise and decorated with beautiful embossed prints. What’s your go-to holiday cookie recipe?

These cookies are slice and bake which means you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and then bake them when you’re ready. They’re also packed with finely diced Diamond Nuts pecans, shredded coconut, dates and warming spices which make them perfect for the cooler days ahead.  I’ll be adding these to my holiday gift baskets this year alongside some preserves and candied grapefruit peel. Continue reading for the recipe and have a great rest of your week…

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

It’s my favorite time of year. I love the cool air, warm slippers, the sound of rain and the changing colors. I also really love soup, but maybe you knew that already. As a tribute to fall, I’ve got the recipe for this Curried Pumpkin Soup for you today as part of the Virtual Pumpkin Party. Continue reading for the recipe and some Ayurvedic tips on how to transition between the seasons with ease…

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ITALY

We came home yesterday after almost three weeks in Italy to rain, fierce winds and the customary grey clouds. Apparently it’s winter already in Seattle. We pulled out the slippers, ran a hot bath and then went straight to the store to stock up on all the vegetables. Why vegetables? Because after almost three weeks of eating exclusively pasta, bread, tomatoes, cheese, coffee and wine, we were both craving green. Now we’re both catching up on work before heading off for various weekend events. I’ll be back next week with a fall recipe or two. Until then, continue reading for some of the highlights from our trip…

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Grape and Fennel Soda

When I think back over the last three years I’m struck by the human capacity to persevere. Despite the waves of grief, fear, sadness and anxiety that struck unexpectedly and repeatedly, I’m still standing and I’m stronger than ever before. We are all stronger than before.

At our wedding, Anders promised to help me see my innate strength, knowing that fear and insecurity were woven into my being. Now, almost three years later, after my sister’s suicide, my mom’s heart attack, what felt like the beginning of the end of my marriage, months of panic attacks and therapy, political upheaval, and raging wildfires, I can finally feel the scales tipping in favor of courage and strength. One of my Ayurvedic teachers once told me that we are not programmed to be afraid, we are programmed to be courageous. I remember loving that sentiment, but not being able to really believe in its truth. At the time, it felt too far from my reality. But, I’m finally beginning to believe in a new reality. I am strong and I am safe. I am strong and I am safe. I used to repeat these words to myself almost daily, hoping that the power of positive affirmation and repetition would change me. It wasn’t the words that changed me though. It was experiencing so much pain and fear, sitting with that discomfort, and learning, ever so slowly, that this too shall pass. I’ve always believed that our lives are an opportunity to better ourselves and the world. But I think I finally understand what that really means. It’s about facing each year, week, day, hour and moment with acceptance of the present. Don’t push it away, distract, or discount those feelings. Breathe in, breathe out and sit with it. Stare it in the face and  it will lose its power over you.

I know I’m rambling and getting a little preachy, so let me explain. We’re leaving tomorrow for three weeks. I’ll be in Charleston for a few days for the Saveur Awards then we’re off to Italy for a yoga retreat followed by a road trip through Tuscany. The anniversary of Maya’s death is next week, followed by our wedding anniversary and then my birthday. It’s going to be a lot, but it also feels like the first real vacation we’ve had, just the two of us, in a long time. So I guess I’m feeling a little sentimental and reflective.

To celebrate the journey I’ve got the recipe for this Grape and Fennel Soda for you, and let me tell you, it’s a keeper. I wasn’t sure how the flavors would work but I’m so glad I trusted my instincts and went with it. This soda is SO GOOD! Enjoy…

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Corn and Shiso Fritters

Summer went by way too quickly. We were gone most weekends, but somehow didn’t manage to check off any of the camping or hiking trips we had planned. To make up for it, we’re headed to Italy in a few weeks for a yoga workshop and some travel. I’m pretty giddy with excitement and looking forward to a little vacation. Before we leave though, I’m packing in a bunch of work and enjoying the rain and cooler weather. I’ve been lighting candles every morning, sipping tea on the couch with my pups and making soup and baking cookies. Fall is my favorite season for sure. As much as I love fall, I’m not quite ready to let go of the summer produce so I’ve got the recipe for these Corn and Shiso Fritters  for you. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Watermelon Cilantro Limeade

Hello friends! I hope you’re having a fabulous week. I’ve got the recipe for this cooling Watermelon, Cilantro Limeade for you as well as some Ayurvedic tips to pacify Pitta. Keep reading to learn about Pitta imbalances, how to treat them with diet and lifestyle, and to get the recipe for this refreshing summer drink…

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Fig and Candied Pecan Panzanella

This time of year, I often find myself standing barefoot in the grass in my parent’s yard biting into a freshly picked fig: juicy and sweet, tasting of honey and flowers and summer sun. These moments are what inspire me to create recipes that show off nature’s incredible bounty. This Fig and Candied Pecan Panzanella does a pretty great job of exemplifying what late summer produce is all about. It combines ripe figs with crusty bread, smoky candied pecans, and bitter greens for a super satisfying lunch or dinner. The smoky, crunchy pecans balance out the sweet softness of the figs and add some protein to make this salad hearty enough to be a meal on its own. Continue reading for the recipe and enjoy…

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Methow Grown

I spent last week touring farms in the Methow Valley for the Methow Conservancy’s Methow Grown campaign. The project is designed to raise awareness about Methow Valley farmers and their work, to help build community and collaboration between farms, and to advance marketing strategies and explore streamlining distribution. It was an honor to be a part of such a meaningful and impactful project and a pleasure to get to know these farmers, hear their stories, learn about their values and their goals, and develop a deep appreciation for the work they do to nourish us and the land. Each one of them has a unique approach to farming integrating their personal philosophies, innovative techniques, and sustainable practices. Despite their differences, they all share a deep love of the land and a deep desire to serve their communities and the world. I hope these photos inspire you to get to know your local farmers and to support them in their work. Scroll down for a list of the farms I visited and be sure to check out the Methow Grown website for virtual farm tours and more info on where to find their products…

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Hormone Balancing Nut Butter Bark

Hello from the Methow Valley. I’m here photographing farmers for the Methow Conservancy’s Methow Grown project. I can’t wait to share some images and stories from the week with you soon. In the meantime, I’m sharing the recipe for this hormone balancing nut butter bark. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Miso Rosemary Beans on Toast

I know, this looks like more of a winter recipe, but bear with me. I don’t know about you, but for us, summer involves lots of outdoor activities which means less time in the kitchen. A quick, satisfying lunch is always appreciated after a long bike ride or hike and these miso rosemary beans on toast hit the spot. Pair them with a big salad and you’ve got the perfect lunch to gobble down in the backyard. Continue reading for the recipe and have a great week! XO

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Dairy Free Chocolate Hazelnut Soft Serve

Hello friends! Last weekend Anders and I went for a long bike ride over on Bainbridge Island. It was a great way to spend a Saturday. The ferry is always so scenic and Bainbridge was lovely as well. Right away, the open space and trees made us feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. The ride took us through woods and fields and along the coast. We finished in town and grabbed lunch before hopping on the ferry home. I used to ride all the time in VT but since moving to Seattle, I rarely get out. Riding in the city is a very different experience from cruising down pastoral one lane roads. While I was tired and sore by the end of the day, I also felt so invigorated… and really hungry. So, I made this super simple dairy free chocolate hazelnut soft serve. It was the perfect treat and completely satisfied my craving for something cool and sweet while also helping combat my sore and tired muscles. Continue reading for the recipe and enjoy…

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Crispy Broccoli and Barley Bowl

I don’t know about you but this summer weather has me itching to get outside. We’re hoping to go for a long bike ride or hike this weekend or maybe take some paddle boards out on the lake. No matter what we end up doing this Crispy Broccoli and Barley Bowl from Izy Hossack’s new book The Savvy Cook is definitely making an appearance. Continue reading for the recipe and some thoughts on eating healthy…

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A Simple Avocado Salad

Hello! The weekend is finally here and I’m excited to share this simple but satisfying avocado salad with you along with some tips on how to create a more sustainable kitchen. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the little things I do to make my kitchen more sustainable and I wanted to share a few tips and resources with you. Continue reading for all the details…

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Mango Lassi Pops

Popsicle Week is here and I’ve got a special Mango Lassi Pop recipe for you! These frozen treats are made with luscious coconut milk yogurt, fresh, ripe mango, a bit of lime, vanilla, a pinch of cardamom and some mint and turmeric for good measure. Continue reading for the recipe…

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Beet and Strawberry Gazpacho

Hello from sunny Los Angeles! We’re here for a few days and I’m looking forward to eating all the amazing food, visiting museums, and working on some fun collaborative projects (be sure to follow along on Instagram stories). In the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for this Beet and Strawberry Gazpacho for you as well as all the details on my morning routine…

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Quinoa Salad with Ramps, Peas and Herbs

Hello from Joseph, OR. We’re here for a few days celebrating my mom’s birthday and exploring the Wallowa Mountains. It’s beautiful here and we’re already dreaming up another visit and a backpacking trip in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Today we hiked along Hurricane Creek, marveling at the imposing mountains, the rushing water, the distant waterfalls and the myriad wildflowers. After our hike we picnicked by the creek and soaked our tired feet in the ice cold water. The picnic was the perfect way to end our hike.

Speaking of picnics (’tis the season) a few weeks ago I met up with a wonderful group of bloggers for a picnic featuring Lundberg Farms products. Lundberg grows organic, sustainable rice and other grains in California and is doing a lot of great work to ensure that their products have a minimal impact on the environment including soil regeneration, crop rotation, habitat preservation, and water conservation. You can learn more here. We had so much fun visiting and cooking together and the open fields and rolling hills of my parent’s property made the perfect backdrop for our feast. And what a feast it was: Shelly made crostini with stone fruit salsa, Eva made black pearl rice stir fry with miso, mushrooms and crispy tofu, Holly and Natalie made morel mushroom risotto, Trisha made rice pudding with strawberry rhubarb compote and I made this spring quinoa salad with ramps, peas and herbs. This salad is packed with spring alliums and herbs plus fresh snap peas, shaved fennel and pumpkin seeds for crunch. It is bright, tangy  and satisfying.

Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the other posts and recipes later this summer. Enjoy!

*This post was sponsored by Lundberg Farms. Thank you for supporting my work by supporting my sponsors.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

Today I’m sharing the recipe for this super satisfying five ingredient carrot ginger soup. This is the soup I make any time we need a quick meal or when the fridge is bare. It’s simple, fast and so nourishing. Continue reading for the recipe and some Ayurvedic tips to improve digestion. Continue reading

Almond Coconut Cookies

These are my go to cookies. I’ve been meaning to share the recipe with you for years and now it’s finally happening. I love them because they’re simple and pretty darn healthy as far as cookies go, with no gluten or obscure gluten free flours and no refined sugar. We always have extra dough in the  fridge or freezer in case the cookie craving strikes.

I’m settling back in after a few weeks away and am looking forward to sharing some fun spring recipes with you soon. What are you all making these days?

*Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos of my recipes  with #tendingthetable. 

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Soba Noodle Salad

Hello from VT! I’m here for a week-long yoga workshop and am excited to share some thoughts on sustainable and ethical eating from a yogic perspective with you. I’ve also got the recipe for this super simple and satisfying soba noodle salad. Continue reading for all the details… Continue reading

Orange Blossom Water and Honey Sahleb with Roasted Strawberries

Hello friends. I’m headed to Vermont for a week long yoga workshop and am looking forward to reconnecting with my teacher and our community there. It will be nice to focus on my practice and immerse myself in the philosophy and teachings. I’m sure I’ll have lots to share with you when I return but for now I want to talk about Karen Mordechai’s new book, Simple Fare.

Karen is the creator of Sunday Suppers, a blog and dinner series designed to bring community together around food. I’ve long admired Karen’s aesthetic. Her style is clean, bright, crisp, elegant, and simple. She knows how to let the ingredients shine and takes pride in thoughtful sourcing. In her new book, the first in a seasonal series, she offers simple recipes based on her favorite weeknight meals. My favorite thing about the book, aside from it’s size (it’s designed to function as both a cookbook and a coffee table book, so is much larger than a normal cookbook), is the way Karen encourages the reader to explore and innovate in the kitchen. The recipes are written to encourage you to modify and adapt based on what’s in season and what you have at your disposal. For me, cooking is so much about exploration and invention, so I love that Karen is opening to door to more conservative home cooks and inviting them to get creative.

Now, how about this recipe? I’ll admit I’m a newbie when it comes to sahleb. Honestly, I didn’t even know what it was before reading Simple Fare. Let me tell you, it’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s made with coconut milk, cornstarch and a little sweetener. That’s it. The result is a sweet, luxurious dessert that falls somewhere between pudding and yogurt. I took Karen’s recipe and ran with it. The original recipe suggests using mahlab and rose water, but I added orange blossom water instead. I also changed up the toppings from the original recipe and added strawberries that  I roasted in coconut sugar and vanilla and then topped it all off with pumpkin seeds and poppy seeds for a little crunch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to modify the toppings seasonally and be sure to check out Simple Fare. Congratulations Karen!

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Passionfruit, Cacao Juice and Pineapple Granita

Hi. I’m just popping in real quick to say hello and to share this granita recipe with you. The weather is finally warming up here so cool summer treats like this one are on my mind. This granita is made with passionfruit pulp, cacao juice, pineapple juice and plenty of vanilla. What is cacao juice you ask? It’s juice pressed from the fruit of the cacao tree; the same tree that produces chocolate. The cacao fruit encases the cacao beans and is normally discarded as waste. Repurposed Pod is eliminating that waste by taking the fruit and turning it into juice for you to enjoy. It’s slightly sweet, full of tropical flavors, and packed with magnesium, vitamin B, and antioxidants. If cacao juice isn’t available at your local grocery store, I think substituting in plain kombucha would be just as good. Enjoy!

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Grapefruit, Cucumber and Rose Skin Quencher

Good morning! Today I’m excited to share a recipe with you from Lily Diamond’s new cookbook. Although I have followed her work for some time, I first met Lily in person in February at a blogger retreat. We spent a few days together, cooking, talking and hanging out. Lily is one of those people who is somehow simultaneously bright and energetic and still calm and collected. I don’t know how she does it. She’s sweet, playful, funny, and so so kind. Her new book exudes all these same qualities. It is packed full of vibrant recipes that satisfy, heal and nourish and self-care tips and body-care recipes that promote wellness, self-love and self-esteem. It’s a beautiful book and I hope you love it as much as I do.

This recipe from Lily’s book caught my attention right away. It’s simple and refreshing and the rose water makes it feel special and a little decadent too. It’s also perfect for keeping you cool and hydrated during those warm summer days that are right around the corner. Enjoy the recipe and check out Lily’s book.

XO Sasha

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Treating Anxiety

Hello friends! I hope you’re having a great week and enjoying the sunshine.

I’ve had several people ask me about anxiety recently so I’ve decided to share my favorite tips and tricks with you here. I hope you find some of it useful or at least feel less alone knowing that anxiety is a prevalent issue in today’s fast paced, over stimulating world.

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Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Toasted Almonds

It’s dark out and the rain is pummeling the metal roof and splashing onto the window panes. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we like to complain about all the clouds and incessant rain, but how can we complain when so many places suffer years and years of drought? How can we complain, when all this rain is what feeds us? Without it, seeds would shrivel up, leaves would show their veins and the fields would lie fallow and barren.

As spring rolls around and patches of sun leave us longing for sunny, summer days, we curse the spring showers. But let’s also remember to be grateful for the rain. Be grateful for the pitter patter, the quenching sparkle on the skin, the smell of  mud, the feel of wet grass tickling the toes, the misty mornings that hold us and ease us into the day, and the food on our tables, that wouldn’t be there without the rain.

This sprouting purple broccoli from the farmer’s market  was just begging to be photographed. Every time I look at its slender stalks, serrated leaves and tiny purple buds, I am reminded of the earth’s beauty and bounty and our responsibility to preserve and protect the resources at our disposal.

I cooked this gorgeous broccoli up with toasted sesame oil, some soy sauce and a little coconut sugar for sweetness. The crunchy, toasted almonds are the perfect thing to round it out. Enjoy!

Remember to follow me on Instagram and tag photos you post of my recipes. I love to see what you’re making!

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Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake

As the clouds settled low in the sky, we threw on our boots, hopped in the truck and drove North. The city blocks turned to pasture and rolling hills dotted the horizon. It felt good to be out of the city; to have more space, more trees, more fresh air. After an hour or so, we pulled  into Bow Hill Blueberries for a visit. The farm, run by Susan and Harley, is the oldest blueberry farm in the Skagit Valley. It is rich in history and planted with heirloom varieties, each with unique flavors and characteristics. Susan and Harley take pride in the history of the farm and their berry bushes and farm organically, focusing on soil health and waste reduction. They make several products with the smaller berry varieties that they can’t sell fresh, including a kick-ass cold pressed blueberry juice and blueberry powder made from the pulp that is leftover after juicing. I love that Susan and Harley decided to turn the spent blueberry skins into a value added product instead of throwing it all away. Not only is this product sustainable, it’s nutrient dense. Each eight ounce bag of Organic Heirloom Blueberry Powder contains the skins of 2000 blueberries. This stuff is packed with fiber, manganese, iron and vitamin C and is great in smoothies or if you’re feeling fancy, in this Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake. This cheesecake is dairy free, refined sugar free, super creamy and just right for the Easter weekend. Enjoy!

*This post was sponsored by Bow Hill Blueberries. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting it’s sponsors. As always, 10% of proceeds go to supporting sustainable agriculture. 

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Cinnamon Rose Horchata

Hey there. It’s spring here in Seattle and I’m enjoying the warm weather and looking forward to lounging in the grass, picnics at the park, summer camping trips, and cooling summer drinks like this Cinnamon Rose Horchata. I’m one of those people who overheats pretty easily, which can lead to headaches, hives and indigestion, so staying cool in the summer is super important for me. When the weather warms, it’s all about routine and paying attention to what I eat. I try to exercise in the early morning or evening to avoid going out during the heat of the day. I often have a cold bandana on hand to tie around my neck and will sometimes even soak my shirt in cool water to lower my body temp. I try to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of room temperature fluids and avoid anything acidic or spicy. I will often add some aloe into my diet as well during the warmer months. Do any of you have a love hate relationship with summer like I do? Well, if you do, this horchata is for you. It’s a simple combination of almonds, rice, cinnamon, honey and rosewater. It’s creamy without being heavy and sweet but not too sweet. And the almonds, rice and rosewater are all super cooling. Enjoy!

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Cocoa Tahini Shake

This one’s a winner you guys! Cocoa, dates and tahini blended up with creamy coconut milk, vanilla and ice! What could be better? It’s my take on the typical peanut butter and chocolate combo. The tahini is really fun for a change but still provides that nutty, rich quality that is so satisfying. And it’s a perfect treat for those warm days that are right around the corner…fingers crossed.

I hope your week is going well. XO

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Nettle Soup

Nettles, popping up on the forest floor are one of the surest signs of spring. Their bright green leaves and prickly stems emerge as the ground thaws and the weather warms. As they grow taller, they often leave tingling welts on the ankles and legs of unassuming hikers. But, when they’re still small, nettles can be harvested (carefully, using gloves or scissors), steamed, and used pretty much any way you might normally use spinach or other leafy greens. They’re packed with iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin K, vitmain A and vitamin B complex and are a welcome change after months of heavy winter foods. I always look forward to foraging for nettles and turning them into this creamy, chlorophyll packed soup every spring. Enjoy and be well.

*When harvesting nettles, wear gloves and use scissors to avoid stings. Only pick the top 1-2 inches from young nettles as too much stem will result in a fibrous, woody texture. Be sure to always use tongs when handling nettles in the kitchen to avoid stings. Steam the nettles thoroughly. The cooking process deactivates the stinging property of the nettles, making them edible.

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Braised Purple Cabbage

Hello friends! Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been busy with some non-food related projects that I wanted to share with you. As much as I live, breathe, and love all things food, my meals have been very simple as other things have been taking priority lately. While I’m looking for ways to get involved in some food justice opportunities and exploring how to have a greater influence in the food sustainability world, I’ve also been consumed by a desire to stand up for civil liberties, the environment, compassionate human to human interaction, and my values. I hope you’ll forgive me for bringing some of that into this space. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  1. I’ve been getting pretty politically engaged since the election and am now organizing with a local group to dialogue with our local law enforcement about how to make our city a model for civil liberties and justice. I hosted a house party through the ACLU’s new People Power program and am now working on setting up meetings and facilitating dialogue. It’s exciting to feel like I’m taking action in a meaningful way and I’m excited to see what we can do. You can join the People Power movement in your area here.
  2. Another way I’ve been getting politically engaged recently is through Swing Left, an organization developed to get people involved in swing district congressional elections in 2018. I’m looking forward to organizing events, phone banking and canvassing  for progressive candidates and to having conversations with people about their beliefs and values.
  3. I just signed up for this great opportunity through my local NPR station to dialogue with others in my community I don’t often interact with. They’re hosting conversations aimed at reducing the harmful polarization in our society.
  4. After becoming aware of some hate crimes in my area, I started a Hate Has No Home Here campaign to fill my neighborhood with yard signs denouncing hate. We’ve raised over $1,000 to print 200 yard signs. I’m excited to encourage tolerance and send a strong message about our values as a community. You can start a campaign in your area too.
  5. I’ve also been working on lining up some super fun sponsored work with some really great, sustainable and innovative companies. I can’t wait to share them with you.
  6. In April, a bunch of other bloggers and I  will be promoting our national parks, forests and wilderness areas to raise awareness about the value of public lands. Stay tuned!

This recipe is a go to weeknight dinner in our house. It’s adapted from a recipe in Chez Panisse Vegetables, but I haven’t used the recipe in years. It’s easy, requires minimal ingredients and is very forgiving. You basically just  cut up a cabbage and throw it in a pan with butter and broth and cook it, covered, until tender. The cabbage gets luxuriously creamy and sweet. We often have it with some brown rice and a salad or veggie soup. Enjoy!

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The First Mess’ Easy Gluten-Free Waffles with Maple-Spice Buckwheat Crispies + A Giveaway

The First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLE

You matter. It’s easy in this buzzing world of omnipresence and instant gratification to forget how we as individuals fit into the big picture.  But, we do fit in. We’re part of the whole and as such, how we participate and engage influences everything around us. The choices we make on a daily basis really do have an impact on the world and on the future. A couple of recent experiences have awakened me to the importance of compassionate, human to human relationships and thoughtful and tangible action. While reading  this article the other day, this quote stuck out:

“A dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. “

As bloggers we spend lots of time on social media, and while I acknowledge the importance of building a following, I think it’s easy to become complacent and lose sight of our values and goals. Why do we do what we do? My guess is that most of us have some reason that has nothing to do with numbers of followers, engagement, page views or click throughs. For some of us it’s about creating art and sharing beauty with the world. For some of us it’s about family and community and building relationships around food. For some of us it’s about  helping others find health and vitality. For some of us it’s about educating others about important issues in our food system. But for all of us it’s about much, much more than just creating content and getting likes. I hope you can all find ways to take your values and passions and translate them into concrete action in the coming weeks and months, because what we all need more than anything else right now is human engagement. Share your gifts every day through little acts of selflessness and compassion. Give a hug, call a friend, discuss an article, cook together, attend a rally, concert, lecture, exhibit, or party, host a fundraiser, collaborate, volunteer, help a stranger, and don’t forget to smile.

I’m working on some interesting projects that I’ll look forward to sharing with you soon. For now….waffles!

The First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLEThe First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLEThe First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLEThe First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLE

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you from Laura’s new cookbook! I had the pleasure of meeting Laura a few weeks ago at our blogger retreat after having admired her work for some time. She’s fun, vivacious, funny, and so talented as both a cook and photographer. This book epitomizes her love of vibrant, seasonal, plant based food. The recipes are precise and easy to follow and packed with plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits and veggies. Her photos are full of soft light and casual styling which creates a sense of comfort that invites you in and makes you feel at home. I’m especially excited to try the Savory Ginger Green Onion Crepes, Weeknight Root Vegetable Dal, Creamy and Spicy Corn and Millet Toss, Roasted Carrots with Ginger Maple Cream, and Fudgy Nut and Seed Butter Brownies. I’ve already made these Easy Gluten-Free Waffles a couple of times and love them. They really are quite easy and I love that they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just like a waffle should be. The shredded coconut adds a rich, nutty flavor and texture. I topped mine with the Maple-Spice Buckwheat Crispies from the book. You can win a copy of The First Mess Cookbook by entering the giveaway below. XO

The First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLEThe First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLEThe First Mess' Waffles | TENDING the TABLE

(GIVEAWAY CLOSED) GIVEAWAY: To win a copy of Laura’s amazing book comment below with your favorite weekday breakfast. I’ll pick a winner randomly next week and get a copy to you in March. Open to US and Canadian residents only.

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Cauliflower Kofta

Cauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLE

Welcome home! We’re settling back into city life and honestly, it’s a bit of a bummer. There’s the traffic, the noise, the absence of stars. It’s harder to get outside when all that greets us is concrete and rows upon rows of houses. The dogs are disappointed too. After weeks of frolicking in the snow and going on long walks they’re already feeling a little stir crazy. But, despite all of this, it’s nice to be back, sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and getting back into a more consistent work routine. I’ve got some fun things coming your way next week, and in the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for this Cauliflower Kofta for you. We made this out in the Methow Valley and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. It’s a riff on the traditional mediterranean meat kofta, but made with cauliflower and packed with toasted pine nuts, dried currants, cinnamon and cumin. They’re amazingly fluffy and are great with some good crusty bread and tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLECauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLECauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLECauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLECauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLECauliflower Kofta | TENDING the TABLE

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Maple Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Maple Bourbon Hot Chocolate | TENDING the TABLEI hope you’ll forgive me for posting another drink recipe this week and one with similar styling no less. I’ve been making this hot chocolate pretty much every day here in the Methow and couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you. It’s our go to post ski treat and I’ve convinced myself that it’s also a necessary recovery beverage, which I’ll admit is a bit of a stretch. But, it’s got some things going for it that make it healthy as well as indulgent. It’s rich, creamy and frothy, packed with cinnamon (which stabilizes blood sugar), sweetened only with maple syrup (which makes it practically sugar free in my book) and also has some salt in there to rebalance electrolytes. The bourbon and vanilla add an exotic note. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And now for a few words on milk:

As with every recipe, ingredients matter here. If you have a favorite nut milk that’s great. If not, consider what milk you buy carefully. Dairy farming is a significant contributor to climate change and environmental degradation, not to mention the myriad animal welfare issues involved in the dairy industry. Things to look out for when buying milk include what breed of cows are being used (most dairy cows have been bred to produce more milk more often which results in more stress, illness and shorter life spans), whether or not the cows are treated with growth hormones or antibiotics, how calves are treated, what they are fed, and how early they are separated from their mothers, if cows are being fed GMO corn, alfalfa, or soy grown as a monoculture or are pasture fed, if the animals have access to the outdoors and what kind of access they have, what kind of grazing practices are used to ensure minimal top soil degradation and erosion, if the cows are restrained in holding stalls or are free to move, what kind of milking practices are used to prevent mastitis, if sensitive ecosystems and/or forests have been destroyed to make room for cattle, and what kind of waste management is used on the farm to prevent water pollution. It’s a complicated system and there is no perfect product, but it’s worth investigating what you’re buying so you know what systems and practices you’re supporting and what you’re putting into your body.

Thanks for following!

XO Sasha

Maple Bourbon Hot Chocolate | TENDING the TABLEMaple Bourbon Hot Chocolate | TENDING the TABLEMaple Bourbon Hot Chocolate | TENDING the TABLE

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Rosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer

Rosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLERosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLERosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLERosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLERosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLERosemary, Honey, and Grapefruit Spritzer | TENDING the TABLE

I’m just settling in back in the Methow after a weekend retreat on the rugged California coast with a bunch of fellow bloggers. My vision for this retreat was for us to be able to spend time together without the constraints or pressure of work, allowing us to really get to know one another, talk freely and cook together. I’d say it was a success. The views were stunning, the food was delicious and bountiful and the conversations were fun, inspiring and informative. I’m already thinking about our next retreat. For now you can check out what we were up to on Instagram under #realeatsretreat.

I made this mocktail on the first night of our retreat and loved it so much I decided to recreate it for you here. Rosemary and grapefruit are always a winning combo and the honey adds a sweetness and floral quality that really works well. It’s a simple drink, but so so delicious. It works well as a winter mocktail because of the earthiness of the rosemary but would also be super refreshing during the warmer months.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate, Raspberry, Buckwheat Muffins

Chocolate, Raspberry, Buckwheat Muffins | TENDING the TABLE

It’s been a challenging week emotionally. Without getting too political here, I’ll just say I’ve been feeling frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with the current state of the nation (If you want more specifics feel free to check out the links I’ve been posting on Facebook). It’s been a crash course in civics and political activism and I’m finally beginning to feel empowered again. I have hope and faith and determination to do what is necessary and right. Part of that means reconsidering how to most effectively raise awareness about sustainable agriculture. There are so many issues and I know it can be overwhelming and paralyzing, but I firmly believe that as long as we keep our eyes, ears  and hearts open, we will know what to do. That being said, I  want to continue to bring you thoughtful content that focuses on issues, information and concrete action surrounding your food choices and why they matter to help guide you in the right direction.

For today though I’ll leave you with a poem and the recipe for these chocolate, raspberry, buckwheat muffins. They’re a decadent breakfast, a great snack and  also a romantic treat perfect for Valentine’s. They’re dairy free (because methane emissions from cows is a serious problem) and use a mixture of Einka flour (which is high in protein and vitamins and grown and milled right here in the Methow Valley) and buckwheat flour for a hearty, rich flavor. Enjoy!

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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Cauliflower and Kale Gratin with Caramelized Onions and Thyme

Cauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLE

Hello! Phew…It’s been a while. We’ve been bouncing around from one ski trip to the next which has made consistent posts a bit tricky (I’m not complaining though…). We’re finally settled into our little cabin in the Methow Valley where we’ll be for the next few weeks and despite the seriously lacking kitchen situation I’m hoping to have some more fun and comforting recipes coming your way soon. For now I’ve got this easy and satisfying weeknight dish for you and some links to things I’ve been reading and watching lately. First, here’s a bit about the recipe. This gratin is packed with roasted cauliflower, hearty brown rice, kale and caramelized onions. I whipped up  a simple roux to add some creaminess and topped it with crushed Onion Thyme Lentil Bean Crisps. These crisps are packed with protein and are great as a snack. Turns out they also make a fantastic crusty topping for any baked dish or on pasta or soup. This dish is a great side dish or dinner and is also amazing with a fried egg for breakfast. Enjoy!

And now for some links:

  1. I was shocked and upset to learn that the number one purchase by households on food stamps is soda. This article does a good job explaining why.
  2. I’ve always been a supporter of moderation in everything, including gluten. This is an interesting article outlining some of the ways a gluten free diet can actually be harmful to your health.
  3. Wise words about the power of storytelling as a political, cultural and personal guide in life.
  4. I’ve always known sugar was bad, but this article has me more convinced than ever.
  5. Just watched this film about climate change and came away more committed to boycotting palm oil (which is in more things than you think, including most store bought peanut butter) and  is a leading cause of rainforest deforestation.

Wishing you all an empowering and peaceful weekend!

XO

Cauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLECauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLE Cauliflower and Kale Gratin | TENDING the TABLE

*This post was sponsored by Harvest Snaps. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting our sponsors. In accordance with our mission, 10% of the proceeds from this post have been donated in support of sustainable agriculture. 

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Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass

Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLEHappy New Year! As I reflect on the past year I’m humbled and empowered by the challenges I faced. I know that many people share this sentiment. Aside from the losses, humanitarian crises and political upheavals, I experienced 2016 as a year of profound grief and fear. My sister committed suicide last October which propelled me into a long period of confusion and anxiety. Her death shocked me and shattered my world view, propelling me into a struggle with long dormant OCD tendencies. For several months I felt out of control, anxious and afraid. But, through the process of learning about how my mind works, and doing lots and lots of hard work to retrain my mind not to jump to conclusions, I feel like I know myself better than ever before. In January my mom suffered a minor heart attack. Old fears were replaced by new ones and I became hyper vigilant concerning my mom’s symptoms, always worrying that she might have another heart attack and die. As I think back on these two monumental events a pattern emerges. 2016 was about death, trying to understand it and what happens next, fearing it, respecting it’s unpredictability, and doing my best to accept it. Nature teaches us that where there is death, there is also life and 2016 taught me to appreciate this dichotomy and to strive to better myself and the world with every action, to see the beauty around us and to appreciate it viscerally and concretely. So, as 2017 begins I’d like to remind you all that your thoughts and actions matter. They have an effect beyond what we can immediately see and no matter what you believe, it’s hard to deny that all living things are connected in some way. This year I challenge you to take on every day as an opportunity to support and foster kindness, compassion, and beauty. This means owning your flaws, staring your weaknesses in the face and taking them on with bravery and pride because you know that the struggle will make you stronger. This means making mindful decisions every day about how you live and what you eat. It means thinking beyond yourself and considering how your daily choices impact others and the planet. It means giving willingly and selflessly to support the good things even at a cost. I think you will find that doing good feels good. In this spirit, from now on, I’ll be donating 10% of all revenue from the blog to non-profits supporting sustainable agriculture. You can read more about this exciting new project here.

 Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLE Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLE Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLE Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLE Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass | TENDING the TABLEThis recipe is a twist on your typical squash soup, with the addition of lemongrass, ginger and lime. It is bright and satisfying and will get you through the  remaining winter months. Enjoy!

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Pear Ginger Fizz and A Cocktail Roundup

Pear Ginger Fizz | TENDING the TABLE

Happy almost New Year! I’m up in Wisconsin on our annual ski trip so I’ll be celebrating the New Year with a long ski, a potluck dinner, bingo, catch phrase, something bubbly, and an early night. In the spirit of celebration I have the recipe for this Pear Ginger Fizz and variety of cocktail and mocktail recipes from around the web for you to enjoy.

Thank you again for all your support, comments, encouragement and engagement this past year. I couldn’t do this work without you, so thanks! I’m excited for what next year has to offer and to bring you more great recipes and inspiration.

Lots of love, Sasha

Pear Ginger Fizz

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 Bartlett pear

1 cup ginger lemonade (I like this one)

Plain kombucha

Ice

Rosemary sprigs

PROCEDURE

Core the pear and place it in a high speed blender with the ginger lemonade. Purée until completely smooth then strain through a fine mesh seive. Divide between two glasses and top with kombucha, ice and a sprig if rosemary.

Enjoy!

Ginger Apple Spritzer

 Grapefruit Rosemary Cocktail

Smokey Spiced Pear and Ginger Fizzes

Cranberry Kombucha Cocktail

No Sugar Added Winter Sangria

Rhubarb and Rosewater Syrup

Date Gingerbread

Date Gingerbread | TENDING the TABLE

Hello from the Methow Valley! We’re here for the week playing in the snow, skiing, getting cozy by the fire and enjoying the peace and quiet. The dogs were simply euphoric to be out in the snow (check out IG stories to see Scarlet romping around) and we were pretty excited too. When we’re not skiing we’re writing holiday cards, snacking on gingerbread and marveling in the awe inspiring beauty of nature. Being here makes me appreciate and love the natural world all the more and has reinspired me to do everything I can to preserve and protect it. For me this means educating and affecting change surrounding sustainable agriculture. As many of you know, this blog has always been a place for me to share my thoughts on sustainability in hopes of influencing the daily decisions people make about what they eat. Well, I’ve recently decided to take my commitment to a new level and donate a percentage of my income from every sponsored post to non-profits in the agriculture and food sectors. I’ll have more details on this soon so stay tuned. In the meantime… This date gingerbread is moist and rich with just enough spice and a crunchy streusel topping. You could also add pecans and/or chocolate chunks to dress it up even more. Wishing you all a holiday full of peace, joy, gratitude and gingerbread.

XO Sasha

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Almond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade

Almond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLE

It’s been a hectic few weeks, but Anders finally wrapped up his thesis and we’re getting ready to head to the Methow Valley for a week of skiing. I can’t wait! The first snowfall here made us giddy and I keep imagining the dogs romping through the snow, running free. I’m looking forward to the meditative rhythm of gliding across the snow, cuddling up by the fire, and snacking on holiday cookies…but only the healthy ones (fingers crossed). Anders’ mom always makes springerle cookies which are pressed into anise seeds before baking. They’re not too sweet and the anise improves digestion. I’ll also be snacking on these Almond Macaroons. They’re gluten free and refined sugar free, crispy around the edges and chewy inside. I added almond extract to bump up the flavor and the optional satsuma marmalade filling adds a bitter note to balance out the sweetness and aid digestion as well. What are your favorite healthy holiday cookies or snacks? And how do you prevent over eating during the holidays? I’ll be posting on IG during our travels, so stay tuned…

Almond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLEAlmond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade | TENDING the TABLE

*This post was created as part of the #calmandbrightcookienight hosted by The Modern Proper. Be sure to check out all the other great cookie recipes here.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016 | TENDING the TABLEHoliday Gift Guide 2016 | TENDING the TABLE

In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, I’ve curated a wonderful gift guide for you. It features elegant, sustainable, locally made goods for everyone on your list.

And, if like me, you’re feeling empowered to give back this holiday season by making donations to important causes, I’ve also put together a list of worthy non-profits to make it easy for you.

These groups work to PRESERVE CIVIL LIBERTIES (ACLU), LITIGATE on behalf of the environment (Earth Justice), combat FOOD WASTE (City Fruit), provide REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH services (Planned Parenthood), promote FREEDOM OF THE PRESS (Pro Publica) and create economic opportunities that benefit COMMUNITIES AND THE PLANET (Eco Trust). I’ve personally donated to all of these groups and feel confident that they are run by passionate, well-informed, forward thinkers. Check out the work they do. If it’s not in your budget to make a donation this year, look into other ways you can get involved.

Wishing you all a joyful holiday full of gratitude and generosity.

  1. The HAND SPUN CAHSMERE SHAWL is part of a new line from Skida, a small company in Vermont, owned by a college friend. They’re known for their colorful hats and neck warmers but I’m loving their new cashmere goods.
  2. The LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN is a classic and I love the clean look of the matte white.
  3. BEE’S WRAP  is a beeswax coated muslin that does everything plastic wrap can do without the waste. And it’s made in VT!
  4. I’m loving the simple design of this IRIS GUY NECKLACE made by local Pacific Northwest artists.
  5. The MARLOW GOODS WALLET  is made from leather from small farms in upstate NY. I just bought one to replace my old wallet from goodwill and love the feel of the leather and the fact that it fits a passport and my phone.
  6. These UASHMAMA WASHABLE PAPER BAGS are really innovative and great as planters or produce bags.
  7. The SARAH KERSTEN EVERYTHING BOWLS have a simple speckled glaze and are great for everything from soup to salad.
  8. EATING ANIMALS was the book that really changed my mind about eating animal products. It’s a must read for anyone interested in food and how it is produced.
  9. How pretty are these COPPER MEASURING CUPS with wooden handles?
  10. The Trilogy ROSE GERANIUM  AND LAVENDAR MIST smells delicious and is soothing and relaxing.
  11. HERBIVORE’S COCO ROSE BODY POLISH  is a luscious blend of coconut oil, rose, shea butter and clay and is made in the Pacific Northwest.
  12. I’ve been lusting after this FILSON DUFFEL. It’s got plenty of pockets and is just the right size for a short trip.
  13.  SAGITTARIO IMPRUNETA’S BALSAMIC VINEGAR is thick and sweet and so luxurious. It is the best thing ever drizzled over fresh tomatoes and mozarella.
  14. The KAVU SUNDOWNER JACKET is stylish and functional and perfect for winter in Seattle.
  15. These Japanese TAWASHI SCRUB BRUSHES are a great replacement for disposable sponges and look cool too.
  16. These LE PARFAIT JARS are great for storing bulk goods or for gifting homemade holiday treats. I love the classic look of the lids.
  17. MARY OLIVER POEMS always bring me back in touch with nature, humanity and the present.
  18. ANDREA RAMSAY makes beautiful wooden bowls and utensils out of Port Townsend, WA.
  19. Last year we bought four of these MAUVIEL CARBON STEEL PANS and love them. They conduct heat well, are relatively non-stick and are oven safe.
  20. And if you need a few more ideas order some ROSEMARY SEA SALT VEGAN CARAMELS from Lagusta’s Lucious, my favorite WHITE TEA from Stone Leaf Teahouse, Frankie and Joe’s PLANT BASED ICE CREAM or some MAPLE SYRUP from Lincoln, VT. So good!

 

 

Coffee Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Mascarpone and 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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