Black Sesame Buckwheat Banana Bread

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the love my children and husband have with bananas and how I am always left with a seemingly endless supply of overripe ones each week, which has also left me with an even more endless take on many many MANY variations of banana bread recipes. 

But this one my friends, this one I present to you today has quickly become top dog. To be specific, as it was baking away in the oven and this unbelievably yummy scent filled my house, “holy shit” were the words I uttered out. And then I tasted it. Slightly sweet, earthy and nutty from the amazing combinations of ingredients. More profanity came out. Whatever. Say what you will but this is some good shit folks!

My intention was to take pictures of it all pretty and sliced up but before I knew it - we pretty much devoured it right up. Or, more to the point, my hungry little girl did. Yes, I just blamed my 1 year old. Anyway, I beg you, if or when you have some overripe bananas hanging out on your counter, make this bread. Do it. Please. It’s great for a brunch of breakfast bread (as we had it) or even dessert with a nice scoop of something creamy on top. Just make it. It’s fucking delicious.

Black Sesame Buckwheat Banana Bread

I happened to have black and blond sesame seeds in the house and so used a mixture of both here (pretty, right?!) but if all you have are blond use them. Still divine. I bet you could make this gluten free too and just swap out the spelt flour for an all purpose gluten free one. Also, next time I make this I am going to add some chopped dark chocolate cause damn that would make this even more delicious.

  • 3/4 cup whole spelt flour 
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 TBS black or blond sesame seeds, more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plain goat kefir or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mild fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame tahini 
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 TBS raw sugar, for sprinkling on top


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and two TBS of the sesame seeds. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, kefir or buttermilk, olive oil and tahini until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas until incorporated. Then slowly mix in the flour mixture until combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Then sprinkle a few handfuls of sesame seeds and raw sugar cover the top. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for a good few days.

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Ginger

In between my mommy and housewife duties I have been sneaking in a Shakespeare monologue or two as well as some of my other favorite plays. Well, not sneaking, speaking them out loud around the house - which has actually turned into performing them in a very exclusive private setting for my children. “Fie fie, unknit that threatening unkind brow, and dart not scornful glances from those eyes to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor…” (Taming of the Shrew) My son stares upon me like I’m mad. “I am not mad this hair I tear if mine”. (King John) But I don't give a s**t. These glorious plays and words have become a wonderful addition sprinkled throughout my day. Not to mention, I am introducing the classics to my children! 

Doing these speeches from memory (crazy I remember them after all these years) has been stoking this creative fire festering within and am even more inspired as ever to jump back in. This desire is something I haven’t felt in years. Seriously, years without any thought of it. “To be or not to be….that is the question”. (Hamlet) I even accepted the fact that my passion may never return. That the years I spent studying and striving and struggling and thriving were going to be part of my past.  I simply let it go as I stepped into my role as mommy.

One of the last auditions I had, we were living in Brooklyn and I was 4 months pregnant with my now 3 1/2 year old son. At the time, I was so excited to experience my new life as a (big fat!) pregnant woman and then we decided to move back out west and then I became a new mother, a wife (“By the roses of the spring, by maidenhood, honor, truth and everything I love thee so…”  Twelfth Night), a whole new wonderful west coast family life unfolded then shortly thereafter got pregnant again and then searched for a new place to live, then moved up north and decided to crete an organic farm and got a ton of animals and then became a mother of 2. 

Needless to say, I've been a busy bitch but, more to the point, these years past, these experiences experienced have been unbelievable. Life changing. Most challenging, exhausting, fulfilling thing I have ever done. Ever. But now, NOW, I need - I must - step out of my mommy bubble and get back to my creative expressive imaginative performing self. The balance will, no doubt, make me a better mommy too cause mommy, mommy folks, has lost part of her shit. Mommy needs to stretch her wings. Not far away, but explore and be challenged in more ways then how many poo poos can I wipe and change in a day. FIE FIE! Not to mention, all this new found wisdom must go to some good theatrical use damn it! In the mean time, I present you all with a delicious simple red lentil soup. Le sigh…

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Ginger

  • 2 TB extra-virgin coconut oil 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB fresh grated ginger root, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed well
  • 5 1/2 cups filtered water or homemade stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, leaves only
  • handful of thinly sliced snap peas or a freshly chopped spinach leaves 

In a large pot, over a medium-high flame, melt the coconut oil and add the red pepper flakes, grated ginger and onion. Stirring pretty constantly for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften and gets lightly brown. Add the minced garlic and mix around for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the red lentils, water or stock and thyme or rosemary.

Bring to a boil, skimming off any white foam that rises to the surface. Reduce flame to a simmer, partly cover and cook about 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and broken down. Remove the thyme or rosemary sprig. 

If you have a hand blender this is a perfect time to bust it out and blend the soup directly in the pot or, if you are like me and don’t have one, wait for it to cool a bit and carefully add to your blender in stages and blend until smooth without burning yourself. Pour back into the pot, over a low flame, stir in 1 tsp of sea salt, the fresh lemon juice and coconut milk. Taste, adding more salt or lemon if necessary.

I like to serve this soup along side a pot of steaming basmati rice to pass around the table and scoop some right on top. Garnish with a nice amount of chopped cilantro, freshly sliced snap peas or raw spinach and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Coconut Banana Gluten Free Waffles

Not sure if you know this about me but I don’t like bananas. Well, I don't like raw bananas. Can not, will not, do not want to eat them in their raw state (texture ahhhh!) and I especially, especially don’t like them blended into smoothies as that banana flavor overpowers all. Only way I actually enjoy eating them is mashed up and disguising them into a baked good - adds a lovely moistness too.  But this is only due to the fact that in our house, both my children and husband could be mistaken for a pack of monkey’s for the amount of bananas they consume. Which means, at some point during the week, I am always left with a few very ripe spotted ones screaming at me on the counter to use up in a more creative way then just making one of my endless versions (yummy no doubt!) of banana bread.

I am always on the look out for recipes that call for mixing in a lone ripe banana or two. A few months back I came across this vegan gluten free waffle recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, The First Mess. I have since made them a handful of times - substituting different whole grain gluten free and regular flours as well as using eggs instead her vegan “chia/flax egg” one and each version were all delicious. Also, though I haven’t tried them yet, I bet they would be great as pancakes if you don’t happen to have a waffle iron.

Banana Coconut Waffles

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed well
  • 1  1/4 cups milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour (grind gluten free rolled oats in a food processor/coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice, buckwheat or other GF flour 
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes/shredded, ground into flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat waffle iron. I like to use a medium setting but if you like a little more crispness notch up the heat setting. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed banana, milk, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, coconut and salt. Stir together until thoroughly mixed together.

Give the banana mixture a stir before adding it to the flour mixture. Fold it into the flour until combine.

Grease the irons lightly with coconut oil and pour a 1/2 cup of batter into the middle of the iron. Close the lid on top and wait. 

Remove the  waffle carefully with a fork and serve right away or let cool on a wire rack and reheat on the lost possible temperature in a toaster. Drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle some coconut flakes, slice some banana (if you're into that sort of thing of course) or some fresh berries and devour.

Mustard Greens Pasta

What a freaking feverish few weeks! I mean that figuratively and literally. We’ve been busy busy trying to get everything in line at the farm - designing, purchasing seeds, sourcing the last of the bare root trees we can find, getting the land ready to start planting, relocating the animals in the field, figuring out where the road will go and the natural pond — a ton of stuff to do so we can start building in the Spring (fingers crossed). But this is pretty much all my husbands domain and he has so much on his plate it amazing he is still, well, amazing. 

Thankfully, he is not one to get overwhelmed by this kind of stuff. By any kind of stuff actually. Completely the opposite of myself by the way. I tend to be a dramatic bitch and complain way too much when I am in pain or overwhelmed. Surprised that I got through childbirth without drugs but that was some animalistic other worldly shit. Anyway, my husband does not have a ripple in the dramatic part of life. Grateful I married him. For more ways then this, of course, but my oh my do I love his kind sweet way.  

Which leads me to the literal fever part. He had been planning a day trip down to LA to finalize the design of our building for some time now so when the night before his trip he found me, his incredibly hot wife (literally and figuratively - wink wink) in bed with a fever of 102 - things shifted and he took pause on the trip and graciously put his nursing hat on and daddy day care lasted all week cause my fever didn’t go away for 6 days! 6 looooooooonnnggg incredibly uncomfortable painful days. 

I won’t bore you with the details but I’ll just say that 4 days into it I learned that the fever was related to an infection in my tooth from a dental procedure I had earlier in the week with the worse insensitive, unprofessional asshole dentist I have ever ever met. I unfortunatly didn’t know this bit of information about him before I had the procedure. But I tend to always learn things the hard way. Anyway, with finally finding a wonderful doctor who FINALLY recognized that my fever was directly related to my tooth along with the help of some fierce antibiotics - I’m on the mend. 

In celebration, I made a green pasta. Cause that’s what I wanted. Something green and nourishing and delicious. And I had a gorgeous bunch of mustard greens in my fridge that needed to be eaten before it wilted and this kinda sauce lends it's way perfectly to use up some greens in the crisper that need some love. You can interchange the mustards for kale or spinach as well but this is really my favorite green to use here cause it imparts such a wonderful bitter bite that only those mustards can do.

Mustard Greens Pasta

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • *1 bunch of mustard greens, tough stalks removed
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  •  1/4 cups grated pecorino or parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 1 box whole grain pasta of choice

* blanch mustard greens in boiling salted water for about a minute in rapidly boiling water. I usually just use the pot of water I am boiling for the pasta for this step. When greens are cool enough to handle, chop them up and set aside.

Then transfer greens to a high-speed blender or food processor, add the 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, pecorino or parmesan, turn the machine on low and slowly pour in the olive oil. When mixture is smooth, taste, adding more lemon juice or salt if desired.

Make pasta al dente and according to the package. When the pasta is done, reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Then add the drained cooked pasta into the pot you cooked the pasta in, over a medium flame, mixing in the green pesto and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add more or less pasta water depending on how saucy it is and how you like it.  Turn flame off and add some more grated cheese, a nice drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and more salt or lemon juice if desired.

Caramelized Cauliflower Soup

It’s been a pretty mild Winter up here. No real extreme weather like in other parts of the country. Yes, there were a few weeks of heavy rains and floods a couple of months ago but that was about it. Since then, only a few showers here and there. Gorgeous weather actually. Billowy clouds, brisk mornings that turn into mild afternoons which then turn into nippy nights. And when the nights become especially chilly - I usually make a soup. 

As long as I can remember I’ve been a soup person. Soup and stews are probably on my top list of dishes I love to make and consume. They are easy to whip together, pretty forgiving, nourishing, warming, comforting and sometimes - as with this one, stunning to gaze upon. Gorgeous winter white. 

Roasting the cauliflower and shallots bring out their natural sugars and their caramelization adds a wonderful depth of flavor. I also love the addition of the Japanese sweet potato here as it adds a touch of sweetness and creaminess without the need to add cream (though you still can if you desire.) However,  a regular potato would work well too if that’s all you have on hand. And as I’ve mentioned before, your soup will really only come out as good as the stock you use so keep that in mind. I used my homemade bone broth for this one which added not only flavor but even more nourishing qualities. If you use a store bought kind just make sure you use a low sodium stock that doesn’t have tomato in it. 

    Carmelized Cauliflower Soup 

    • 1 large or 2 medium head of cauliflower, stemmed and cut into florets 
    • 4 large shallots, peeled and halved
    • sea salt
    • freshly milled black pepper
    • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 TB unsalted butter or coconut oil
    • a few fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 small  japanese sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    • 4-5 cups vegetable, chicken or bone broth (homemade is recommended)
    • 1/4 cup coconut, cashew or almond milk or cream (optional)

    Preheat oven 375.

    On a large parchment paper lined baking sheet add the cauliflower florets, shallots, a nice drizzle of olive oil as well as a few sprinkles of sea salt. Mix everything around with your clean hands to coat then spread out evenly about the sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes or until lightly brown. When cool enough, chop up the roasted shallots and set aside a handful or roasted cauliflower florets to add to the soup when finished. 

    In a medium pot, over a medium flame, melt either the butter or coconut oil. Add the roasted shallots, a dash of sea salt, a few sprigs of fresh thyme or a tsp of dried thyme and a few turns of some freshly milled black pepper. Stir around with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Add the sweet potato and the stock. Turn the flame up a bit and bring to a light boil. Then turn flame down to a simmer and add the roasted cauliflower, partly cover pot with a lid and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Take off the heat and cool a bit before adding to the blender.

    Carefully add the soup to the blender. You may need to do this in stages depending on how large your blender if.  Blend until smooth. Pour soup back into the pot and turn flame on low. Mix in about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt - depending on how salty your stock was. Also if the soup is too thick you can add more stock or water or even a touch of coconut milk or almond milk or straight up cream if desired. Taste. Garnish with the remaining roasted cauliflower florets, a few sprinkles of fresh thyme and flakey sea salt.

    Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies

    These are a spin on those fabulous Flourless Almond Butter Cookies I posted a while back. And if those delicious cookies were your joint, then these gooey bittersweet dark chocolate flourless dairy free brownies will be too! Maybe even better - if I do say so myself. I still can’t believe the batter is made from nut butter. Truly Amazing. 

    And if chocolate ain’t your vibe (I shutter at the thought) well then you can make these as blondies - which means sans cacao powder and chopped chocolate. Instead add some dried fruit - dried cherries perhaps or chop up some crystalized ginger or a combination of both. Most importantly just make these. Like NOW!

    Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies

    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 cup cacao powder
    • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
    • 1 cup unsalted nut butter (I used almond butter)
    • 2 ounces dark chocolate (70% or higher), roughly chopped


    Preheat oven to 325°

    Best way to mix everything really well is in a food processor but if you don’t have one use a whisk and get ready for a good workout cause the mixture gets thick and sticky. 

    SO - if using a food processor put all the ingredients in and blend for a good minute until everything is smooth and combine. 

    If using your muscles - in a bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar, maple syrup, cacao powder, baking soda and salt for a good bit until everything is smooth. Then, using a good spatula mix in the almond butter, stirring thoroughly to combine - about a minute. The dough will be very thick. Add about half of the chopped chocolate, using your hands if necessary to incorporate.

    Press the dough into a parchment-lined 8×8″ brownie pan. Sprinkle the remaining chopped chocolate over the top and press each piece slightly into the dough. Cook in the middle rack of the oven.

    Bake for 30 minutes until the brownies are puffy and slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then carefully lift the parchment paper and transfer brownies to cool completely on a rack before devouring, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


    Butternut Squash Cornbread

    I've made my fair share of cornbread. Delicious cornbread no less but none NONE have compared to this gem. The addition of the roasted butternut squash puree, goat kefir and olive oil keeps it moist and a bit of honey keeps it just a touch sweet. But what makes this one even better is that it's also still fabulously moist a few days later too which never seems to happen with the other cornbread I’ve made as it tends to dry out the next day. But not this one! Oh no not this. 

    We had a picnic on the farm and ate some - then some more along side a red lentil soup then scrambled eggs and then grabbed the last few slices for breakfast. My point:  any way you want to eat it - eat it. Just promise me you’ll make it. It’s that good. 

    Butternut Squash Cornbread

    • 1 cup roasted butternut squash purée (see below)
    • 1 cup plain goat kefir or buttermilk
    • 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 TBS runny honey
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 - 1⁄2 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
    • 1⁄2 cup spelt or any all-purpose flour
    • 1 TB baking powder
    • 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
    • 3⁄4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1 TB unsalted butter 

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place inside a 9-inch cast iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, kefir or buttermilk, olive oil, honey and eggs.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

    Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together. Do not overwork. 

    Carefully remove the HOT skillet or baking dish from the oven, and add the butter. When it has melted completely, swirl around the melted butter to cover the pan evenly then quickly pour the thick batter into the hot pan, and return it to the oven. Middle rack. Bake for about 30 or until golden brown on top and a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before serving. 

    To make the butternut squash purée: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a halved butternut squash - skin side down - on the baking sheet. Rub the pieces with about a 1 TB of olive oil - skin and flesh. Place on the middle rack in the oven and roast for about 45 minute to an hour or until tender. When cool, remove the skin and discard then puree the flesh in a blender or food processor until smooth. 

     

    Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

    Morning time is my favorite time to bake. I usually wake up with a recipe in my head and once I walk into the kitchen I seem to dive right in - gathering the ingredients in hopes I can get something into the oven before my little girl wakes up.  I used to make a porridge every morning too for my son cause he would be ravenous as soon as he woke up. My son. My sweet little 3 year old boy who used to happily and blindly eat anything I made for him. But not anymore. Oh no, not no more. Sigh.

    That willingness for him to eat everything I presented began to taper off over these past few months (maybe even past year) but what ever, I was still able to entice him to devour a huge bowl of some kind of whole grain porridge every morning. And any combination I would try, he’d seem to eat with zeal. Rye, barley, quinoa, steel cut oats, amaranth, millet - I’d mix it up each day to keep it exciting for him and so he could have a variety of whole grains in his diet since breakfast seemed to be the meal he ate the most of. But now, NOW he even rejects the porridge and says with distain (without even taking one eensy-weensy bite I might add), “No mama. NO. I no like that”. 

    Don’t think I've given up on trying to get something whole grain and nourishing into his belly in the morn' though! Little does my son know that this rejection stokes the deep fire of creativity. Oh my wonderful boy - your mama is crafter than you might think and is always up for a challenge. And so, these whole grain Oatmeal Applesauce Morning Muffins are the result. I even topped them with some fresh raspberries my son refused to eat too. Funny that he gobbled them up when they were baked on the muffin. Yep, I’m a sneaky bitch. And proud of it.

    Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins 
    Topping the muffins with a fresh berry is optional, of course, but if you have some hanging around do it - they look so pretty. A nice slice of banana would be a good substitute instead of the berry on top as well. Also these muffins are great to feed to your wee ones who have a few teeth too! I just don't give her one with the topping on it. Obviously. She ain't got a lot to chew with.

    • 1 - 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 - 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
    • 3/4 cup milk of choice
    • 2 large egg
    • 1 - 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 3/4 cup spelt flour
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 TB barley, rye or oat flour
    • 1 - 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 cup raisins or currants

    Walnut Oat Cacao Topping 

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
    • 4 TBS extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
    • 3 TBS cup coconut palm sugar
    • 2 TBS ground cacao powder 
    • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
    • pinch of salt

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

    Oil or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. 

    Make the topping: In small bowl, combine the oats, coconut oil, sugar, cacao and pinch of salt. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, applesauce, milk, eggs, vanilla, melted coconut butter and maple syrup. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined. The muffin batter will be a bit on the wet side. Gently mix in the raisins or currants.

    I use a ice cream scooper to distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups so use one if you got one, if not fill it with a spoon. Cover the top of each muffin with a the topping. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the muffins will be dry.

    Remove the muffins and cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack for another 10 or so. Store leftovers in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature and a few more in the fridge.

    Winter Green Smoothie

    I used to drink a green juice everyday when I lived in New York. I stopped off to get one at my local health food store where Melvin would juice it for me. He was the juice king of the west village and everyone's favorite. He was full of love and Rasta and had a overwhelming warm welcoming smile and made a damn good juice. I wasn't the only one who thought this either as there was always a long line around the store waiting to get Melvin to juice them something good. Since moving out of NYC I was thrilled to know that he had opened his own place - Melvin's Juice Box too. Big up Mel.

    Anyway, my point to all this juicing talk is that I used to also juice a ton but then I got pregnant and juicing wasn't appealing to me at all anymore and then I had kids and well let's just say my juicing days over these past few years has been pretty far and few between. I still love a good green juice, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that the amount of produce and time and cleaning the machine and, well, effort, it takes to make one hasn’t been worth it I guess or else I would have been making them, right? 

    But I've been missing drinking my greens. More specifically, I've been missing how I feel when I drink them. Especially in the morning cause, even though my adorable 9 month old daughter is only waking up one time to nurse at night, I long for something to help rejuvinate my tired ass body to arise and jump into a new glorious mommy duty filled day! 

    I tried a ton of those green powders but most taste like utter crap and others made my tummy upset and bleck bleck if you try to disguise the taste in a smoothie. SO then, one morning, out of desperation and inspiration I busted out my blender and thus this delicious, green smoothie was born.  The best part too is all it takes is a good old fashioned high speed blender! And I must admit, I love this green drink even more then just a plain ole juice. It satisfies me, feels incredible going into my body, nourishes my cells - I feel alive, happy, energized and awake. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

    Winter Green Smoothie

    • 2 cups coconut water ( I use Harmless Harvest)
    • 1 medium blood orange or regular, peeled and seeded
    • 1/4 of a ripe avocado
    • 3 stalks of green kale, stemmed
    • 1 green or red apple, cored
    • 1 soft large medjool date, pitted
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
    • 1 dime size piece of fresh turmeric root (optional)

      Put everything in the blend and blend on high speed until combined. Drink immediatly. 

    Coconut Granola with Millet and Dried Apricots

    Breakfast has always been the hardest meal for me to eat. I’ve never had that much of an appetite upon arising. I do muster up to eat breakfast though or else I’ll be a low blood sugared raving bitch. My standard morning meal is usually goat yogurt with a drizzle of some local honey and fresh fruit. Easy, yummy and satisfying. Lately I’ve been making a green smoothie (recipe coming up soon!) or I’ll have a nice naked scoop of some of my homemade granola.

    IMG_1564.jpg

    Once you make your own granola you’ll probably never buy the store bought kind again cause you’ll realize how super simple it is to whip together. It also lasts up to a month in an airtight container at room temperature making it wonderfully convent to grab some on the go or give some to your kids for breakfast or even as a snack. 

    The best part is that you can throw all your favorite things into the mix too. Like I am not a fan of nuts in my granola so I don’t use them, but if you are by all means add a cup or two into the mix. I also like mine not really sweet so I use a bit of brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup but if you like it sweeter use maple instead. Also use any dried fruit you like or have on hand or simply leave them out altogether. Up to you. Play around. The granola world is your oyster.  Oh and it looks really pretty on your counter too.  


    Coconut Granola with Millet and Dried Apricots

    • 4 cups old-fashioned oats (use gluten free oats if you like)
    • 1/3 cup millet 
    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt
    • 1/3 cup runny honey
    • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup for less sweet or maple syrup for sweeter
    • 3 TB fresh lemon or orange zest 
    • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or mild extra virgin olive oil
    • Preheat oven to 300°.

    Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

    In a large bowl, mix the oats, millet, coconut, and chopped dried apricots.

    In a small pot, over a medium-low flame, heat the runny honey and coconut oil or olive oil, whisking until melted and combined. Turn off the flame and whisk in the maple syrup, zest, and salt.  Pour runny honey mixture over the oat mixture, mixing well to evenly coat. Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

    Place one baking sheet on top oven rack and other on bottom rack. Bake about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and rotate the baking sheets halfway through from top to bottom to ensure even baking.  Bake until the granola is toasted and a nicely golden brown  in color.

    Place sheet on cooling rack, stir granola around and cool.  Eat immediately or store in airtight container at room temperature for a good couple weeks.

     

    Flourless Almond Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

    Yes you read that title right - no flour. And if that wasn't exciting enough for you they are also gluten free by design, dairy free and sweetened only with just a bit of honey or maple syrup if you prefer. They are utterly delicious and no one would ever guess they are sans anything which, for me, makes them even better!

    Use the "dough" as a base for endless flavor combinations. Just swap out the dark chocolate and sea salt with anything you want. But if you are a chocolate chip cookie lover- give these little divine morsels a go. It was honestly love at first bit for everyone. Especially our son!

    Flourless Almond Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

    • 1 cup all natural toasted or raw, creamy or chunky unsalted almond butter 
    • 1/3 cup runny honey or pure maple syrup
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 4 oz dark chocolate bar, coarsely chopped and divided 
    • flakey sea salt (such as Maldon), for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 350 
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a medium bowl, mix the almond butter, honey or maple syrup, egg, vanilla, baking soda and 1/4 tsp fine sea salt until smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chunks. 

    Using a tablespoon, drop TB sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet and sprinkle a bit of flakey sea salt on top of each cookies. Bake on the middle rack for about 12 minutes or until cookies turn a slight golden brown and get puffy. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

    Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge. They last a good week though I bet they will be gone before that!

    Root Vegetable Stew with Miso

    It’s been pretty cold up here in Northern California. Mornings are in the high 20s with ice forming overnight on the windshield of our car as well as on our son’s mini ride-around tractor he got for x-mas - “ice mama, ICE!” First Christmas he has understood what was going on so we went a little nuts with the many gifts that "Santa" brought. It was exciting and fun to see him rip them open but now that he has had a taste of the abundance, it has morphed into the whole needy and demanding more-candy-canes-and-presents thing. He keeps asking when “anta” is coming back with more gifts and every person he comes into contact with who is holding some sort of bag or box he assumes what they are holding is, in fact, a present for him. I know. He’s 3 years old.  He want’s everything. Sucks for him cause he ain’t getting nothing. Unless, of course, he FINALLY decides to start going poo poo on the damn potty! 

    But I’m not here to talk about presents or poo poo. I'm here to share with you a wonderful, simple, nourishing, sweet stew made with a mixture of any root vegetables you may have on hand or love. When I was a vegetarian, I discovered macrobiotic cooking and fell in love with root vegetables. I mean, how could you not? They are sweet and starchy and tasty and so satisfying. Also warms you up nicely in the depths of a NYC winter or on a chilly autumn day. According to Chinese medicine, root vegetables help “root” or ground us, build stamina, and are very nourishing to the spleen and stomach, which helps aid digestion - making this a lovely soup to eat when your tummy is in need of a break from all those heavy winter holiday meals.

    Through the years I have made many variations on this stew and each attempt was always a success.  A stew like this is very forgiving, making it perfect to throw together with any roots you may have hanging around. I have made it with and without miso and have also puréed the whole thing until smooth. Up to you. Any way your preference, yummy.

    The other wonderful thing about root vegetables is that they impart a lovely sweetness which makes for a delicious broth so all you do is add filtered water and the roots take care of the rest. Well, also adding a bit of miso paste at the end deepens the flavors with a little salty, savory, umami goodness and voilà - you've got yourself a pot of vegetable divinity.

    Oh and these gorgeous pictures were not taken by me on my iPhone. (I ain't claiming to be no photographer people - I just love to cook!) These pictures were taken by my incredibly talented friend Naomi Mcleod

    Root Vegetable Stew with Miso
    I used a purple sweet potato in this so that is why the stew has a purple hue. Those can be a bit hard to find (but if you do find them I highly recommend trying them!) but nowadays you may see purple carrots popping up at the markets so get a bunch of those instead if you want the lovely color. So pretty.

    • 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 TB unsalted butter or coconut oil
    • 4 large leeks (white part only) or 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TB fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1 fennel bulb, cored and coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
    • sea salt
    • 2 pounds (about 8 cups) assorted root vegetables, (such as winter squash, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potato, celery root, parsnips, turnips) peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 6 cups filtered water 
    • 2-4 heaping TB of mellow miso paste

    In a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add leeks or onion, garlic, ginger, fennel, 1/2 tsp sea salt, red pepper flakes if using and stir well. Reduce flame a bit and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the leeks or onion soften. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and slowly cook until the mixture is soft and juicy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Check a few times and stir.

    Add the root vegetables, thyme and bay leaf and raise heat to high and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Pour in the filtered water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 

    In a small bowl mix the miso paste with some of the hot broth to make a slurry. Mix the miso slurry into the soup pot, stirring to combine. Taste, adding a TB more miso or a dash of sea salt to taste. 

    Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh thyme or parsley leaves on top

    Rustic Apple Date Cake

    This is a lovely moist delicious unfussy cake - perfect to whip together on one of these chilly winter mornings. Wonderful along side one of your favorite hot beverage too. The only thing really time consuming is peeling the apples but I bet you could forgo the peeling and it would still be just as yummy. This is also the kind of cake that tastes even better the next day, which means you could make it the night before and serve it for breakfast. Happy holidays!

    Apple Date Cake

    • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
    • 1/2 cup orange juice or apple cider
    • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
    • 1 cup white spelt or all purpose flour 
    • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
    • 1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
    • 4 cups slightly tart apples: peeled, cored and roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil, cooled 
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 TBS raw sugar 

    In a small bowl, add the pitted dates and cover with orange juice or apple cider. Soak until date are soft then puree everything in small blender, food processor or mash until a smooth paste.

    Preheat oven to 325.

    Butter the baking vessel of your choice and set aside.

    Into a medium bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

    In a medium bowl, mix together the cooled melted butter, eggs, vanilla and date puree. Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture - mixing until everything is combine. The batter will be a very  thick batter so be sure to blend it well. Mix in the chopped apples. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and evenly scatter the top with the raw sugar. 

    Bake on a the middle rack of the oven for about 50 minutes. Test the middle of the cake with a thin knife to see if it comes out clean. If it’s still a bit gooey, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You'll know when it's done. It will be a nice dark tan color and will spring back to a light touch.

    Remove from oven, let cool a bit. This is delicious hot, warm or cold. Top with something creamy or simply eat as is. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days then in the fridge for a few more.

    Bone Broth

    I was so looking forward to making some homemade holiday treats to gift to our new friends and ship out to our old but alas both kids got sick. It’s been kinda a whirlwind of germs and fevers and congestion for the past few weeks and though they are getting better - they are still hacking away. I wouldn’t want anything from our snotty sneezy home right now which means all ya all ain’t gonna get anything either! 

    My husband and I shockingly haven’t gotten the funk. Might be due to the obsessive amount of vitamin C shots as well as this seriously potent magic bottle of stuff called Fire Cider. Who knows but so far we are in good health.

    At any rate, these past few weeks have been tending to two sick kids so I made a large pot of mineral rich chicken bone broth and have been sneaking it into their meals as much as possible. I steam up some veggies in a pot with it, add some when cooking grains or beans, throw some in at the last minute to a pasta, add to straight up soup or miso - getting creative with concealing some bone broth is always a fun time around here! 

    I highly recommending purchasing a large stock pot. It’s one of the best pots I have in the kitchen cause I love to make a ton of broth and freeze it to use for a good long while. I either get a few pounds of organic lamb, cow or bison bones at the local butcher shop or farmers market or - in this case - save up a bunch of chicken parts that I don’t eat from whole chicken’s (necks, spine, wings, drumsticks) in the freezer to use when I have enough. I make a big pot with the usual vegetable suspects as well as any seasonal root vegetable that are hanging around. Though the broth is still wonderful without the roots - they add a lovely subtle sweetness to the broth so use them if you got ‘em. 

    I learned a great tip from the good ole Martha Stewart magazine years back in regards to freezing stock which makes it super convenient to use into anything you are cooking.  After skimming off the layer of fat that rises to the top of the chilled broth the next day, pour the broth into large silicon ice cube trays - freeze them then pop them into a large zip lock bag and use when ever desired - no need to defrost. Adds not only flavor but also bone broth nourishment. Google bone broth if you don’t know about them. They are healing goodness.

    Bone Broth

    The ratio of vegetable and bones/chicken parts will obviously vary on how big the pot you’re working with. This recipe work great to with straight up bones (lamb, chicken, bison or cow) as well instead of the chicken parts. I make both kinds. Both wonderful and contains a ton of minerals and healing properties.

    • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    • 1 large head of garlic, unpeeled and whole head halved
    • 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
    • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and rough chopped
    • 1 large potato, scrubbed and rough chopped
    • 2 large parsnips, scrubbed and rough chopped (optional)
    • 1 rutabaga, scrubbed and rough chopped (optional)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • handful fresh parsley or thyme
    • 2 to 4 chicken necks, wings, spine and drumsticks or 1 to 2 pounds of organic bones
    • sea salt
    • 1 TB apple cider vinegar 
    • filtered water to cover
       

    Add everything into the largest pot you got. Add filtered water to cover by about an inch. Over a medium to high flame bring to a light boil then turn flame down to low. Skim off any white foamy stuff that will rise to the top. Partially cover pot with lid and simmer for a good 5 hours or so. 

    When done, carefully strain through a fine mesh strainer and allow the stock to cool enough to put into the refrigerator. All the fat will rise to the top when chilled in the fridge then skim off the fat and voila - you can either use immediately or pour into large silicon ice cube trays until frozen then transfer into zip lock bags and store in freezer until ready to use. These “stock cubes” last a good few months in the fridge.

    Cardamom Cornmeal Cookies

    Holiday baking season is in full swing in our house. During these chilly raining grey days something sweet always seems to be baking away in the oven. I've been on a cornmeal kick as of late. Made an apple cranberry cornmeal crisp then a baked cornmeal custard - both tasty but then I made these delicious little cornmeal cookies and they took center stage. Hit the big time. Broadway bound cookies.  

    I was inspired to make these from a corn cookie recipe I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. Her cookies used a handful of ingredients I didn't have in the house and I wasn't about to gather everyone to go to the market to get them either so I do what I always do - create something from what I have in my pantry.  

    Admittedly, these are one of those kinda cookies that when I popped into the hot oven, I didn’t think would work out as well as they did. However, they not only worked, they were a huge success! I made them just yesterday and they are more than half gone today. This recipes yields about 30 cookies too. Nom nom.

    I am confident these would work very well with any combination of dried fruits and nuts you may have handy.  Next time I’m gonna swap out the butter for some coconut oil and maybe use some dried cherries and almonds. And then dip them in some dark chocolate. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and toasted coconut chips. 

    Ahem, excuse me - must try that version now.  
    Toodles.

    Cardamom Cornmeal Cookies

    1 cup fine cornmeal flour
    1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    3 TB muscavado or brown sugar
    1 tsp ground cardamom
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    zest of 1 large orange or lemon
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 egg, room tempeature
    1 cup spelt flour
    1/2 cup currants or golden raisins or other bite sized dried fruit
    1/2 cup pistachios, slivered almonds or pine nuts

    Preheat oven to 350

    Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

    Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter (must be room temperature or else it won’t blend!) and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the orange zest, vanilla and egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix at medium speed until everything is incorporated and smooth.

    Reduce speed to low and gradually add in the cornmeal, spelt flour and salt. Mix until combined and then add the dried fruit and nuts. Turn mixer off the use your clean hands to mix evenly. The dough will be soft and chunky.

    Use a small ice cream scooper or a teaspoon to place them on the prepared baking sheets.  The dough won’t spread so you can place them close together.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies on rack. 

    They keep for 3 days at room temperature though I doubt they will last that long.

    Roasted Parsnips, Carrots, Apples and Thyme

    My husband and I have merged. Well, that already happened I guess. We fell in love, got married and popped out 2 kids. Bada bing. Apologies for that ridiculous gumba pun but I really haven’t gotten any consistent sleep in oh like a year and I seriously think I have completely  completely lost any remaining sanity I had left. However questionable my sanity was in the first place isn't the point and is an entirely different conversation altogether. Bing bing. 

    Heck, I’ll even blame my lack of sleep for the reason my Thanksgiving turkey came out drier than the hay we put down for our farm animals. (Sorry again!) For the record, this was actually the very first traditional Thanksgiving dinner I have cooked and also I have shockingly never even cooked a whole turkey before. But I was excited to give it a go and my folks were coming to visit so I pre-ordered some insanely expensive organic heritage bird at my local grocer.

    I did my research as well as ask around for the best way to cook the thing and in the end I was left with a very important decision to make - do I brine the bird for a couple of days or do I simply just season it before I cook it? I choose the latter as I was too concerned that if I brined it - which is simply just covering it with salt for a few days - my pan drippings (gravy) would be way too salty to eat. Anyway, let’s just say, next year I’m gonna brine the bitch.

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    One of the only things that came out great were these roasted root vegetables and my dessert which we devoured way too quickly to remember to take a picture. Probably cause we were all starving due to the dry ass turkey! But, I’ve lost my train of thought (surprise surprise) so let’s get back to the merge with my hubby - this time I’ll spare you another bad joke. 

    Today we are launching our new site Noci SonomaSalty, Spicy, Bitter and Sweet is now going to be the Food blog on the site and my husband is writing all about his farming experiences on the Farm blog. This is a place for both of us to document our journey as we develop our organic farm as well as all the many other unexpected things we create and learn along the way.  We honestly have no idea what this new endeavor may harvest but we have grand visions and look forward to sharing them with you all as we make something beautiful out of this raw land.

    Join us in the kitchen and out on the farm.  

     
    Roasted Parsnips, Carrots, Apples and Thyme 
    These veggies make a lovely accompaniment to any meal as well as any leftovers make a wonderful salad, over a nice bowl of greens with your favorite dressing and some sprinkled feta or goat cheese on top.


    4 medium parsnips, peeled, halved and then quartered into 1 inch strips
    4 medium carrots, peeled, halved and then quartered into 1 inch strips
    2 large shallots, peeled and halved and quartered 
    2 pink lady or firm tart apples, cored, halved and quartered into 1/2 inch pieces 
    2 TB extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 TB fresh thyme, leaves only


    Preheat the oven to 425°

    Place the vegetables on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss well. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size, tossing occasionally, until the veggies are tender and lightly golden. 

    Pour veggies onto serving platter, sprinkle with a little bit of coarse sea salt and fresh thyme or chopped parsley on top. 

    The Best Gingerbread I’ve Ever Made.

    This is gonna be short. I’m here to only talk about this gingerbread. The best fucking gingerbread I have ever EVER made. Seriously. This one has it all. A little gooey, a lot moist, a little sweet and a ton of gingery spice. It’s a mixture of spelt and barley flours, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup and (of course) molasses, seasonal spices with an extra hit of crystallized ginger and coconut oil instead of regular butter. Make it. It’s everything I dreamed a gingerbread to be. That’s it. I’m done.

    Gingerbread

    • 3/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
    • 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
    • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
    • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
    • 1 cup white spelt flour
    • 1 cup barley flour
    • 1  1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
    • 2 TB ground ginger
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 cup milk of choice
    • 2 TBS crystalized ginger, chopped

    Preheat the oven to 325°.

    Smear some coconut oil all around a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

    In a small pot, over a low flame, combine coconut oil, molasses, brown rice syrup, and coconut sugar in a medium, non-reactive saucepan and place over low heat. Whisk the mixture frequently until the coconut oil is just melted and all of the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl, and set aside to cool.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.

    When the molasses mixture is cooled or lightly warm to the touch, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each egg. Then whisk in the milk until combined.

    Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter without over mixing. Then gently mix in about 1 1/2 TB of the chopped crystalized ginger until just combined.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining chopped crystalized ginger on top. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 45-60 minutes. Check at 45 minutes. When the top of the cake springs back when touched. If not done, bake and check after 5 minutes. It’s done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

    Cool for a good hour. This is the kinda thing that taste better as it sits. I cut mine into squares but you can cut them any which way you want ‘em. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days then in the fridge after that for a few more

     

    Persimmon Bread

    The sweaters, the scarfs, the hats and coats are making their way out from the depths of the closet as fall is offically here! I adore this season. I get all nostalgic and cosy and comforted and inspired to nourish those around with delicious warming soups and stews and baked goods. The fireplace is the first thing I turn on in the morning (yes it’s manual) and then it’s the oven. The morning’s are chilly and still dark when I rise and my favorite favorite favorite thing to do is bake. Soooooooo many things to create with the abundance of the autumn harvest – persimmons being on the top of my list.

    There are a few types of persimmons out here. The ones that you can eat hard or soft, Fuyu, and the ones you can only eat soft, Hachiya. I have tried this bread using a soft Fuyu with but much prefer the richer jammy flavor of the soft Hachiya.

    The bread isn’t the prettiest, but it sure is delicious. It’s slightly sweet, super moist and the flavor reminiscent of carmel without the use of butter. We eat this bread as is or with some sheep yogurt and extra persimmons puree you’ll have left over drizzled on top. We also eat it as dessert, warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

    Persimmon Bread

    • 1  1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 4 large, very ripe Hachiya persimmons
    • 1/3 cup plain goat milk kefir or buttermilk
    • 1/3 cup walnut oil or mild extra virgin olive oil
    • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 1/4 cup muscovado brown sugar
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs


    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Oil a loaf pan.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
    Scoop persimmon flesh from skins into a blender. Purée until smooth. Transfer 1 cup purée to a medium bowl (reserve any remaining purée for another use or just snack on it while you make the bread). Whisk in milk. Set aside.


    In a separate bowl, whisk oil and sugars until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is well combined. Add the vanilla then gradually add persimmon mixture; beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients in 3 batches, beating just until incorporated.


    Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Check at 50 minutes; if not done, cook another 5 or 10 minutes.


    Let bread cool in pan for 20 minutes. Store in sealed glass container and leave on the counter for about 5 days. Though I doubt it will last that long.


    Quinoa Crispy Treats

    My son loves nuts. I mean LOVES them. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios are his favorite at the moment. He eats them almost everyday as a snack with some sliced apples or pears or with some dried fruit or coconut chips. I just recently discovered these toasted puffed quinoa crispies in the bulk bin at my local health food store and was inspired to see if I could create a chewy, crunchy homage to the old school rice crispy treat using nut butter instead of marshmallows. Totally different, I know, but could be delicious and without the crazy sugar crash. Success! 

    Yes, you can swap out the quinoa crisps with crispy brown rice instead – I like the Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal – but if you can get your hands on some of these quinoa crispies (you can buy them on-line here) I highly recommend you give these ridiciously simple (throw everything in a bowl, mix, spread, chill, cut, eat!) recipe a go.

    I made them with almond butter last week and they were delicious and then made them with sesame butter (tahini) this week and still delicious so I would guess they would be wonderful with any nut/seed butter you desire too. Either way you make them (and I so hope you do) no one did the sugar crazy dance after consumption. I am, however, guilty of doing the happy delicious yummy #theyworked dance while my son calmly took a bite, looked up at me and said with confidence, “Good Mama. Good.”

    QUINOA CRISPY TREATS

    • 2 cups quinoa crispies
    • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
    • 2 TB runny honey
    • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter or tahini
    • pinch of sea salt

    In a small bowl, whisk the rice syrup, honey, nut butter, sea salt until combine. They will blend more easily if they are all at room temperature. If you are having trouble then just put them all in the food processor and give em a whiz. 

    In a medium bowl, add the quinoa crispies then pour the nut butter mixture in. Mix together with a spatula until combine. 

    Pour into a 8×8 baking dish or other desired shaped dish. Using a spatula or back of a spoon, flatten mixture until the top is even and smooth. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours until set. 

    When set, run a sharp knife along the top to make the size bars you want then cut em and eat em! Store in an airtight container in the fridge in-between wax paper cause they will most likely stick together.

    Broccoli Pistachio Pesto

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    I’ve been having such vivid dreams lately. I’m no Freud but I believe that our dreams can most definitely guide us, allow us to possibly see things a little clearer. Lately I’ve been dreaming about my life before I had children. It’s hard to believe that I actually had one but I did and in that life - I was an actress.

    I was living in the rat race - waiting for my career to be exactly (perfectly) the way I thought I wanted it to be before I was “ready” to start a family. And I’m pretty positive, had I not gotten pregnant with an IUD with my son (0.01% chance of getting pregnant with an IUD btw!) I probably would not have 2 utterly scrumptious children today. I very likely might have still been pounding the pavement of auditioning or I might have been performing on Broadway or the West End in London or starring in a Hollywood movie but then I’d be “too busy” to have children and then I’d wake up one day too old to start or maybe I’d be unemployed, alone and depressed sitting at the corner bar in the middle of the afternoon with a cigarette and a hat drinking pontificating about the good old days when I was pretty and young - who the heck knows - all I know is that presently, I could not and would not want my life to have unfolded any other way.

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    I’ve always seen myself as a character actress. One that changes with each role. Always gravitated towards playing women much different from myself - from various classes, cultures and environments. When I first started studying acting, I was 20 years old and most of the roles I was given to play were boring to me. I wanted to play those women in their 40s who had been through some shit and had depth. So, if I look at this time away from that perspective - I’m almost 40 and I can now play all those delicious roles!

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    Throughout these past few years (4 to be exact) my father would periodically ask me if I was going to start performing again, concerned I would wake up one day in regret. My response was always the same, “If I missed it Pop, I would be doing it.” And I never missed it. I’ve never woken up in regret that I’ve taken this extraordinary time to experience pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Never. Not once. No desire to do anything else except be with my young ones, cook and write. Honestly. Until now.

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    Here I am, almost 40, now living in the county, about to create an organic farm, with my sexy husband (pic below!), 2 kids, 2 dogs, 10 sheep, 2 pigs, far away from big city representation with incredibly cheesy community theatre all around. Surprisingly, being away from that grind (and also having a family I don’t want to be too far away from) has inspired a change of how I want to get back up under those lights again and perform.

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    And so, somewhere in this farm of ours we are going to build a theatre. A farm to stage experience if you will. Pick your own snacks from our seasonal abundance, sip some amazing local wine and watch some badass theatre in the elements of nature. Like how Shakespeare did it back in the day. His audience would have to walk through town to get to the theatre - stopping off to get some food, some drink and some women. Well, this would be without the brothel though. Sorry boys.

     

    Broccoli Pistachio Pesto Pasta

    Any leftover pesto is delicious smeared on some really good bread along with some really good cheese and made into an old school grilled cheese sandwich. Amazing.

    • 1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
    • 1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
    • handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 1/3 cup pecorino or parmesan, freshly grated
    • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
    • juice of 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
    • 1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • whole grain fusilli or other bite size pasta

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I use the same pot to blanch the broccoli as I do cook the pasta in.

    When the water is rapidly boiling, add the broccoli and cook just until it turns a nice green color, about 20 seconds. Using a small strainer, carefully gather the broccoli florets, put them into a larger strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the small broccoli trees as a garnish.

    Add the remaining broccoli to a food processor along with the pistachios, basil, pecorino or parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt. Turn on and drizzle in the olive oil while blending until smooth. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed. Set aside.

    Cook the pasta according to the package - al dente. Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water before draining. Drain pasta then transfer the hot pasta back into the pot you cooked it in along with about 1/2 of the pesto, the reserved pasta water and the reserved broccoli florets. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Taste, add more pesto if needed. Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.

    Transfer pasta to serving dish, drizzle some good olive oil on top and a bit more freshly grated pecorino or parmesan.