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!

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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

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(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!

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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

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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.


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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!


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*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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