#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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