I 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!
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Wise words about the power of storytelling as a political, cultural and personal guide in life.
- I’ve always known sugar was bad, but this article has me more convinced than ever.
- 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!
*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.
Happy 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.
This 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!
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
1 Bartlett pear
1 cup ginger lemonade (I like this one)
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.
Ginger Apple Spritzer
Grapefruit Rosemary Cocktail
Smokey Spiced Pear and Ginger Fizzes
Cranberry Kombucha Cocktail
No Sugar Added Winter Sangria
Rhubarb and Rosewater Syrup
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.
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…
*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.
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.
- 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.
- The LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN is a classic and I love the clean look of the matte white.
- BEE’S WRAP is a beeswax coated muslin that does everything plastic wrap can do without the waste. And it’s made in VT!
- I’m loving the simple design of this IRIS GUY NECKLACE made by local Pacific Northwest artists.
- 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.
- These UASHMAMA WASHABLE PAPER BAGS are really innovative and great as planters or produce bags.
- The SARAH KERSTEN EVERYTHING BOWLS have a simple speckled glaze and are great for everything from soup to salad.
- 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.
- How pretty are these COPPER MEASURING CUPS with wooden handles?
- The Trilogy ROSE GERANIUM AND LAVENDAR MIST smells delicious and is soothing and relaxing.
- 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.
- I’ve been lusting after this FILSON DUFFEL. It’s got plenty of pockets and is just the right size for a short trip.
- SAGITTARIO IMPRUNETA’S BALSAMIC VINEGAR is thick and sweet and so luxurious. It is the best thing ever drizzled over fresh tomatoes and mozarella.
- The KAVU SUNDOWNER JACKET is stylish and functional and perfect for winter in Seattle.
- These Japanese TAWASHI SCRUB BRUSHES are a great replacement for disposable sponges and look cool too.
- These LE PARFAIT JARS are great for storing bulk goods or for gifting homemade holiday treats. I love the classic look of the lids.
- MARY OLIVER POEMS always bring me back in touch with nature, humanity and the present.
- ANDREA RAMSAY makes beautiful wooden bowls and utensils out of Port Townsend, WA.
- 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.
- 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!
Happy 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!
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.