Farro + Roasted Fennel Salad w/ Cardamom Carrots


I can’t seem to write about food without writing about the weather. It’s fall here, officially. That means avocados are long past making sense and I find myself gravitating toward squash, pumpkin, beets, and carrots while at the market. Rather than filling the season with heavy spices, I’ve been trying to incorporate light herbs that refresh a dish. During this transition time from summer to early fall, we need the in-between kind of meals that help our bodies get ready for the cold months ahead.

Around these parts, fall is cuddling season. I’ve brought the extra blankets down from the closet and I’m going back to a few beanie projects that I ditched at the end of last spring. I’ve been taking advantage of misty morning runs while listening to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and falling in love with a few cookbooks on Nordic cuisine (really into the narrative-style recipes in North). Sometimes, I just need all the parts to work together.

My parents are coming to Boston in a few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited! I haven’t seen them since April, so it will be great to have them here. I want to wow them with some plant-based treats, so I’ve been recipe testing a few pies and pastries. I’m keeping things short this week so I can get outside and winterize my garden. For now, I’m going to await their arrival by digging into this dish + endless mugs of black tea. Hope you and yours are well!

Farro + Roasted Fennel Salad w/ Cardamom Carrots


At the moment, you’ll find dill, fennel, and fennel seed in a lot of my dishes. In this dish, the dill serves as af resh herb that goes well with the caramelized roasted fennel and tomatoes. The roasted sweet corn bring moisture to the dish and the farro is nutty and hearty. You can top this all with a dairy-free cucumber coconut yogurt sauce. This is delicious served warm or chilled for lunch.

1 1/2 cups farro
2 cups water
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 ears corn
1 bulb fennel
1 1/2 cups miniature heirloom tomatoes
1 cup dill
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp turmeric

1 lb. carrots
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tbs olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

1/2 cucumber
1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Stir in farro and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until farro is tender. Drain and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Set rack in the middle of the oven and set two ears of corn on the rack, wrapped in their husk. Mix 1 lb carrots, cardamom, olive oil and carrots. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper. Roast both the corn and carrots for 30-35 min.
  4. Line a separate baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice fennel into eight pieces and place on baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mix together heirloom tomatoes, 1 tbs olive oil, mustard, and turmeric. Set onto the same baking sheet. Place in the oven after carrots and corn have been roasting for 15 min. Roast for 20-35 min.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together white wine, lemon, and plain (tart) coconut yogurt. Gently stir in diced cucumber.
  6. Assemble salad by stirring together farro and roasted vegetables. Chop 1/2 cup a dill and mix into salad. Leave the carrots on the side and top with cucumber + yogurt dressing.





Plum + Cardamom Smoothie Bowl + Giveaway


Its 7 am and the windows are open at the back of our apartment. There is a bird somewhere up in the small orchard behind our house dedicated to waking up the neighborhood. I’ve just poured a cup of tea and I’m crunching away on biscuits, barefoot and wrapped up in a hoodie at my computer. Kevin is in the room sleeping, still. This is how most Sundays start around here, at least, the less hectic ones. There is a bag on the kitchen table still packed with all the crackers and pasta guayaba that we brought to a late night boat ride on the Charles River with friends.

We were in a rush to make it on time last night and Kevin flew in saying that he mentioned we would bring a snack. I like that I can put together something on the fly, no frills. Just crackers, three types of cheese, and some guava. The nights are getting cooler here, so we all bundled up in jackets and munched away on crackers and drank wine while cruising through the water. The cold night air finally gave us space to think autumn thoughts.

Late September is the middling time. Early enough to still feel the sun, but getting into the season where the trees are putting on their costumes. Soon, they’ll all be dressed up for the show, wrapped in the kind of fiery outfits that bring the country to see their extravagant parade. But for now, they’re transitioning as slowly as the rest of us, pulling sweaters and beanies down from our closets.

We made plans for more early fall camping last night and laughed. Laughed so hard at times that I thought I would go overboard. Maybe it was the wine, but most likely the presence of two kind, brave, and affable friends that remind me to keep dreaming and to never give up, even when a fuse goes out.

I’m super excited about partnering up with the generous folks over at Sunwarrior to offer a reader free vegan protein right to your doorstep. In the comment sections below, let me know what kind of smoothie you’d make with vanilla or chocolate protein powder. For me, I’ve been dreaming up another recipe using vanilla, persimmons, and figs! For an extra entry, snap a photo of your morning smoothie + tag me on instagram @austinjbay and use the hashtag #smoothielife. This giveaway is open to people living in the U.S. I’ll notify the winner by October 5, 2015.


Plum and Cardamom Smoothie Bowl

I’ve been thinking about food through color lately. Some days, I’m focused on making something yellow or green, but today I was all about exploring the pinks and purples. These black plums and red beets stood out to me while in the market and I wanted to put together a breakfast bowl that represented my love for late summer and my desire to savor the moments of early fall. The plums bring the sweetness of late summer and the earthy beets and spicy cardamom is a symbol of what’s to come throughout fall and into the winter. The team from Sunwarrior reached out to me to make a smoothie recipe and it seemed like a good fit for this space. Their Vanilla Sunwarrior Protein Powder is a vegan protein powder that is super delicious and vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and no sugar added. It’s made from a blend of organic pea, cranberry, and hemp seed protein. I’ve been using it after tough running or cycling sessions and it definitely helps with my recovery.

2 black plums
1 red beet
1 banana
4 dried figs
1 ½ cups almond milk
½ lemon, juiced
¼ tsp cardamom
1 scoop Vanilla Sunwarrior Protein Powder

Unsweeted Coconut Flakes
Radish Sprouts
Roasted Pistachios
Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Slice plums and place into blender. Peel and chop beet as well as the banana and add to the blender.
  2. Remove the stem from dried figs and combine with other ingredients. Add almond milk, lemon juice, cardamom, and protein powder.
  3. Puree until smooth and top with unsweetened coconut flakes, radish sprouts, roasted pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.





*I received free protein powder from Sunwarrior in exchange for putting together a recipe on my blog. My thoughts and feelings about the product are all my own.*


Swedish Rye Bread


“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”

  • M.F.K Fisher

Whether we’re ready to admit it or not, fall is rapidly approaching New England. The leaves have already started to change colors and the roads are starting to fill up with yellow, orange, and red leaves. Although the daytime is still warm, the mornings and evenings are cool & refreshing. I find myself already looking for late  summer & early fall foods. The pumpkins in the garden next to our apartment are even ready to be picked for autumn.

Bread is a staple around our apartment, especially during the cold months. Homemade bread is a labor of love. Like fermenting kombucha or years in a relationship, you’ve got to be in it for the long run. There are quick breads that taste pretty good, but nothing substitutes the long & slow process of rising and kneading a dough into a couple loaves of bread.

On Sunday, I was feeling the need to be home and work on projects, so I relaxed around the apartment writing and intermittently baking this bread. If you’re not much of a homebody until winter is in full force, then you can tuck this recipe away for rainier days. The fennel seeds and citrus rind break through the traditional heaviness of rye and give this loaf a lingering & refreshing flavor.

Swedish Rye Bread


Prep Time: 5 hours | Cook Time: 50 min. | Yields: 2 loaves

I’m a fan of bread. This gluten-free craze is of no interest to me, aside from the rise of ancient grains and delicious strains of wheat-alternatives that are fun to try. I’ve always loved rye bread, ever since I was a little kid. I like the somewhat bitter taste of the bread because it gives it a hearty and savory flavor that lingers on your tongue, when made correctly. Not to mention, this Swedish rye bread recipe must speak to some ancestral heritage or creating bread from home is just so delicious it majorly eclipses the store bought kinds. This particular loaf is seasoned with fennel seeds and orange zest, which gives the loaf a light and refreshing flavor.


1 cup almond milk or cashew milk
1/4 oz active dry yeast or one packet
2 tbs turbinando sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 cup vegan butter or coconut oil
1 orange rind, zested
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 cups medium rye flour

  1. Warm milk in a small sauce pot until lukewarm.
  2. Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water and stir in milk. Careful not to get the water or milk above 120° or it will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.
  3. Once the yeast has dissolved, slowly beat in 3 cups of flour.
  4. Cover with a wet cloth or plastic and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until double in size.
  5. In a saucepan, combine maple syrup and fennel. Bring to boil and cool till lukewarm.
  6. Mix in syrup, vegan butter or coconut oil, orange rind, and salt into the risen batter. Make sure that the syrup is lukewarm or it will damage the yeast.
  7. Stir in rye flour and 1 cup of the remaining unbleached all-purpose flour.
  8. Knead the dough on a floured surface with the last 1/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour until smooth and elastic, 5-8 minutes.
  9. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in size, which will take anywhere from 1 1/2-2 hours.
  10. Once the dough has risen, separate into two even balls. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place loaf inside. With the other ball of dough, separate into three even balls and roll out into strands. Braid the dough by crossing the outside strands over the center, alternating from right to left. Tuck the tail ends of the dough underneath to give it a completed look.
  11. Cover both loaves and let rise for 50 min.
  12. Preheat oven to 375°.
  13. Place both loaves on the oven rack and bake for 45 min. Once the dough has turned golden brown, brush with lukewarm water and bake for 5 min. longer. Cool the loaves on a rack and cover so that the loaves last throughout the week.








White Rum Banana Bread

DSC_1038It’s Monday morning. Labor Day. We’ve spent the weekend playing board games over beer late into the night, eating way too much ice cream for two humans, sipping amaretto liqueur by the fire, falling asleep to massages, and giving our hearts over to the film, Grandma. I woke up early yesterday morning to flip through some cookbooks I picked up at the library, including a prized gem titled Puerto Rican Cookery. The cookbook, which was written by a husband and wife, includes rich descriptions about the time of year and the right occasions to serve different foods. It’s important to us that our house is filled with the smells of Puerto Rico, as well as all our other favorite classics. While flipping through endless plantain recipes, I remembered that we had a bundle of overripe bananas and I had promised to turn them into bread.

In the morning, I put water onto boil for fresh tea and sit in the front room with sunlight burning through the shades. Kevin is snoozing at the back of the apartment and I listen to the singsong melody of his breath. I try to jot these moments down in my head so I can use them on darker days. Somewhere between cups of tea and getting lost in the flavor of the island, I decide that it’s time to go to work on making something for breakfast.

I pull the bananas out of the refrigerator and they are dark and soft. I pull out a bowl from the top cabinet and strip the insides from the flesh. With a fork, I set to mashing the bananas to a chunky pulp. Sometimes, it feels good to tear and smash in the kitchen – to make a mess until you’re covered with sticky pulp, flour, and coarse sugar. Ray Barretto is playing in the background. This morning the music in the kitchen is traveling across the Caribbean.

Kevin has taught me how to love bachata, salsa, danza, and merengue and it’s as close as it can get to my blood. This morning, the songs are all dripping with the islands. It’s summer in here y’all & I’m wrist deep in sweet dough, dancing salsa across the kitchen, crying out with heartbreak at each bachata song, (which is why it took me longer to complete this recipe) and trying to translate the lyrics as fast as they’re spoken. I know that I’m just a child of this musical tradition, but I can’t help but fall in love with the congas & timbales – the way in which you can dance the sadness off your bones.

I stripped the cinnamon, nutmeg, and other winter spices from this recipe to make it sing a little more in the tune of summer. After all, bananas in the fall and wintertime are undoubtedly out-of-season. The white, Puerto Rican rum is in honor of all the island recipes I’ve been reading and the maple syrup of my newfound New England roots. I hope your days have been sweet & that your last weeks of summer hold what you need to get you through the introspective, cold months ahead.

White Rum Banana Bread


I’m a big proponent of not wasting food, when possible. You’ll find vegetable scraps in our freezer that are waiting to become vegetable stock and I’ve been known to build compost bins for family members. We haven’t been eating bananas at the regular pace lately and when Kevin went to toss them out, I went into food saving mode and came up with this recipe for banana bread. The rum is not too strong, but it does give the bread a more rounded flavor. Let me know how you like it!

6 ripe bananas
2 flax eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbs turbinando sugar
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white rum
1 3/4 unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a 9″ loaf pan and set aside.
  3. Peel five bananas and chop them into bite size pieces. Place them in a large bowl and mash using a potato masher or fork until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together 5 tbs water and 2 tbs milled flaxseed to make 2 flax eggs. Set aside for 5 minutes. Once the mixture has thickened, whisk together with with the we ingredients, including sunflower oil, brown sugar, turbinando sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and rum.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, including flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to your mashed bananas. Once thoroughly mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.
  7. Using a spatula, fill the 9″ loaf pan 3/4 of the way full with batter. Peel and slice your last banana in half and place on the top. Make sure to only fill the pan 3/4 of the way full because you’ll need space for the bread to rise.
  8. Bake for 45-40 minutes. Check to see if the loaf is properly baked by inserting a toothpick. It should not have any residue once removed from the dough.



Plus, a few of the songs that I’m crushing on right now…

No Me Queda Más – Selena

El Hombre De Tu Vida – Rey Ruiz

Hoja En Blanco – Monchy & Alexandra

La Soledad – Rafael Cortijo, Ismael Rivera

Quimbara – Celia Cruz

Cuanto Duele – Carlos y Alejandra

Medicina De Amor – Raulin Rodriguez

Nueve y Quince – Aventura

La Vida Es Un Carnival – Celia Cruz

El Cayuco – Tito Puente

Rosemary Nectarine Streusel


The air along the greenway is a mixture between city and nature. A thin strip of creek runs down from the pond and spills into the college district of the city. In the morning, runners, cyclists, walkers, readers, lovers, and children soak up the green space before scurrying away to their offices, school, or childcare. I’ve been on these paths for eight years and seen the way change waits for no one. It comes, just as sickness and health, with the speed and slowness that is expected from the things we cannot control. No matter how much we pray to the Gods, sometimes, we just have to wait, in faith, for the universe to make sense of itself.

The other morning, I shared a post on Instagram about my ongoing relationship with melancholy. Distinct from sadness – this is the type of feeling that blankets the universe like kudzu. It’s inherently self-absorbed, I know this, but matters of the spirit don’t follow the rules of logic. And by judging it, I only dig my heels in deeper. Awareness, or the ability to see oneself as you are, has been my best, faulty antidote. The process of waking up to our delusions matters. At least, I have to trust it does. And, as the laws of the universe go, I think this particular awakening carried all the absurdity of being young and uncertain.

There are foothills in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that were charred while I was growing up. On our drives up the mountain, we’d pass by the American River where a forest fire swept through thousands of acres. And each year after, there would be more hills like this – burnt from lighting, a stray campground fire, the negligent flick of a cigarette, or someone manifesting their pain by watching an entire forest burn. When a forest is burning, ash falls from the sky like snow. But when a heart is smoldering, there are more subtle signs of distress.

Fire is often an intangible energy made from one part destruction and one part evolution. It consumes the underbrush and makes way for new life. Jack pine cones sit dormant until a fire melts the thick resin and their seeds emerge, finding new life in the nutrient-rich soil covered in ash. I believe that forests, much like people, are always in the process of becoming.

Last night, Kevin and I drove with the windows down and I could feel the humidity against my chest. The first sign of recovery is feeling. He asked me about this particular episode of melancholy – questions like: what does it feel like? does it start for any specific reason? what do you do to move through it? And I’m grateful, for his questions. By naming its boundaries, I’m able to better identify how far its legs and arms have reached under my skin. Maybe, it was the news, a book I’ve been reading, old scars, a general lack of direction, or maybe it was just my mind going to that place it sometimes goes – into the well of itself.

In telling you this story, I feel the need to apologize for passing on such heaviness, but I’m simply trying to convince you that there is some release when we can name our demons. For me, catharsis involves speaking our truths, be that fact or metaphor. I lean toward the latter. For me, the forest helps me makes sense of my heart.

For now, the fire has passed. I’m here now, with one hand on my heart. It’s not a matter of if this feeling will return again, but when. This scorching has given me the ability to better see the signs. I know that melancholy feels like heavy limbs, shallow breath, and a quiet sky. I know that there is an end to it and in its wake, I’ll find the universe asking me to open myself up again.

Rosemary Nectarine Streusel


Summer is New England, and anywhere north of Sacramento, is about enjoying fresh fruits while they are still in season. The fall is coming and there will be plenty of time for apples and pumpkin, but for now I’m trying to squeeze in all the summer desserts that are available. Baked fruit is my favorite summer dessert, be it berries or peaches. I imagine you could replace peaches in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of nectarines. Either way, the vanilla and fresh rosemary gives these nectarines a sweet, light, and enjoyable summer flavor.

3 nectarines
6 tbs oat flour
6 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs coconut oil
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup roasted cashews

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Wash nectarines and cut in half. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, place oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, rosemary, vanilla, salt, and roasted cashews. Pulse until ingredients are incorporated. Don’t over process or you’ll get too fine of a mixture.
  4. On a lightly greased cookie sheet, arranged nectarines and top with 2-3 tbs of mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nectarines are tender.


“Melancholia is, I believe, a musical problem: a dissonance, a change in rhythm. While on the outside everything happens with the vertiginous rhythm of a cataract, on the inside is the exhausted adagio of drops of water falling from time to tired time. For this reason the outside, seen from the melancholic inside, appears absurd and unreal, and constitutes ‘the farce we all must play’. But for an instant – because of a wild music, or a drug, or the sexual act carried to its climax – the very slow rhythm of the melancholic soul does not only rise to that of the outside world: it overtakes it with an ineffably blissful exorbitance, and the soul then thrills animated by delirious new energies.”

― Alejandra Pizarnik


Summer Berry & Fig Vegan Muffins


This week has been especially rainy, so I’ve been fighting the seasonal melancholy that I get when the grey days stretch on forever. My joints have been swollen from the high humidity, but I have been trying not to let these things get me down. To stay present by breathing through the pain and resting in bed on the days it’s difficult to move. Since I’m on the injured list again, biking and swimming has been therapeutic – and, of course, seeing friends. The combination of rest and laugher is what I need right now. I’ve checked out a dozen books from the library in the past couple of weeks and Kevin and I have spent the last few weekend mornings reading next to one another, drinking tea, and just being together.

Last night we laughed with friends over the dinner table about how everyone is talking about winter. We debated the accuracy of the Farmer’s Almanac and the existence or non-existence of El Niño. The Northeast makes you fickle about the weather, but none of us were ready to admit that this is an entertaining topic of conversation – it’s on it’s way no matter what we do. Still, you can feel the pressure to eek out the last moments of sun – travel up to the mountains, bike around as much as possible, and generally enjoy walking outside.

It seems like the warm months fly by in a blur of work and sun. There is a kind of frenzy in the city going on right now where everyone is packing their last six weekends of warm weather. Between Red Sox games and community events, the city is reaching its peak of activity. The students are all returning to the city in the next week or so, which is roughly 500,000 people. Boston is a city where so much of the population is transient. I always get excited when the school year is starting (even though I’m long past graduation at this point) because I like to drop in on the university lectures around town. It’s one of the few places where you have access to libraries, lectures, art, and music from a bunch of different universities.

During these last few warm months, I’m hoarding summer fruits in our apartment – eating berries whole and baking them into cakes and muffins. Summer is so sweet, both in terms of food and enjoyment. Blueberries are one of the summer fruits that I love. Back in California, where I grew up, there is a blueberry farm down the road from my house. I remember going there as a kid and picking blueberries, eating them by the handfuls. The blackberry bushes behind our house were always raided by the neighborhood kids and I remember sinking my teeth into my first fig that grew behind the house of a family friend. When I found there were raspberries behind our apartment, I was pretty excited to pick them off the vine. I combined all of these berries and memories together into these vegan muffins and chowed down on them all week.

Most people get into work so early that it’s difficult to have a proper breakfast – whatever that looks like for your diet. It felt like a treat all week to unwrap these at my desk. It was funny to see something handmade amongst everything, but in a way, these remind me of home – that place in my memory that is fixed in eternal summer.

Summer Berry & Fig Vegan Muffins


Prep Time: 15 min | Bake Time: 25-30 min | Yields: 1 dozen

Since I’ve been a kid, muffins are one of my favorite weekend treats. I love to bake berries into bread because it brings out their sweet, and in some cases sour, flavors. The mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in these muffins brings out all my favorite flavors of summer. The coconut oil is a nice alternative to butter and provides a little bit of extra nutrition along with the oats.

1 ¼ cup almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oat flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 cup mixed summer berries
½ cup figs
½ cup coconut oil
1 flax egg
2 lemons, juiced

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a dozen muffin pan with muffin tins or apply a thin coat of oil to prevent muffins from sticking to the side.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. While the milk is thickening, mix flour, oats, baking powder and sugar together in a food processor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Whisk oil, flax egg, and lemon juice together with almond milk and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Make a well in your flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients. Thoroughly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients before gently mixing in your mixed berries and figs.
  6. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 of the way full, topping with slices of figs or berries, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.



Cos’ the very thing you’re afraid, afraid of
It keeps you clean but unclear
Clean but unclear

Is the dirt that you’re made, you’re made of
And that’s nothing to fear
No, it’s nothing my dear

-Nick Mulvey-


Warm Kale & Lentil Salad w/ Maple Sesame Ginger Sauce


Each week that I’m able to grab vegetables from the garden, I’m grateful for having the tiny space. If you’ve been around here, then you know that it’s not always this way. Some mornings I’m rushing to get to work and struggling to find time to water the plants and make sure I’m staying on top of the weeds. Tonight, I came home to an empty apartment and went to the garden to grab a few pieces of kale for tonight’s dinner.

I was stooping over the plants the other day and had my forearm resting on my knee while the other hand was pulling out the weeds – just like my granddad. There was dirt under my fingernails and everything smelled like a mixture of metal and cilantro. I called my sister and asked her if she remembers him this way: stooped over in the garden with his forearm resting on his knee, eating half the strawberries he picked for dinner. I could hear her laughing on the phone, she knew the image well – could smell the warm dirt and sweat in the hot sun. I’m glad that I have her to tether my memories and make real the things that exist in my head.

Tonight, I came home to an empty apartment. It was just me, the plants, and a heaping mound of kale. I took my camera to the garden and snapped a few shots of the plants. Believe it or not, this has been painful for me. Stepping outside the box and doing something unexpected – answering the questions of other gardeners and neighbors as I’m standing in the garden with my camera.

I know that otherness is so much more pronounced from different vantage points, but I can feel it creeping up in my body like an old ghost. When you grow up gay in the forest, otherness becomes the thing that defines you, but at some point in your life you have to settle into your skin and make friends with the things that make you, you. That’s what I’ve been trying to do these days – to get out of my own way.

Sometimes I settle into my old ways, thinking all my ego work is done. Not long after that, I’ll find myself comparing, seeking external validation, and looking outside myself for happiness. Seeing our delusions is one of our greatest challenges. The garden helps me cut through the things that make me feel small and it helps me focus on the process. After all, isn’t all of this process.

Warm Kale & Lentil Salad w/ Maple Sesame Ginger Sauce

Last-imageI find that summer is the perfect time to indulge in salads. The greens are fresh from the garden and I can have endless cold or warm salads, depending on the temperature for the night. The Tuscan kale has been growing like wild in our garden, so this recipe was inspired bywhat’s in-season – or by what is taking over the garden. This warm salad is perfect for stormy New England days when you feel the mix of summer fever and winter nesting. The fresh greens are light, but the sweet carrots and smoky shiitake mushrooms provide this recipe with some heartiness that can be enjoyed with a glass of wine – or your favorite summer drink.

Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 30 min | Serves: 2-3

2 tbs olive oil
2 carrots, peeled + chopped
½ sweet yellow onion
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, coarsely chopped
1 cup lentils
3 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 tbs toasted sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs maple syrup
½ lemon, juiced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled + grated977_988

  1. In a large cast iron skillet or saucepan, warm 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the onion is lightly brown and caramelized, roughly 12-15 minutes. Add chopped kale and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until leaves are tender. Remove the ingredients from the cast iron skillet and saucepan. Set aside.
  2. In the same cast iron skillet or saucepan, mix lentils, garlic, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan, warm 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and heat for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, or until crispy and brown on one side. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes, crisping the other side.
  4. Drain the lentils in a colander. Return to the cast iron skillet or saucepan with kale mixture.
  5. To prepare the dressing mix together sesame oil, soy sauce, tahini, maple syrup, lemon, and ginger. Pour over the warm salad before serving.

How to Make Chickpea Flour

how to make chickpea flour

Regardless of the season, I pile chickpeas up on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven with smoked paprika and turmeric. I’m used to baking them or pureeing them into hummus. A few months ago, I picked up chickpea and fava flour to use in my cookies at home and really like the results. I regularly use chickpea flour in my chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, which gives them the chewy texture that I’m always after when it comes to making cookies. There are some great brands out there selling chickpea four, including my personal favorite Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo & Fava Flour. I thought it would be nice to try to make chickpea flour at home.

My general cooking philosophy is eat plants, a lot of them. Eat what tastes good and helps your mind feel calm and your body feel energized. Sometimes, this means indulging in cake and morning pastries, while other times it means diving head first into a green smoothie or salad. It depends on the day. Regardless of what I’m eating, I try to stay curious about nutrition. I try to diversify the vegetables I’m eating with seasonal ingredients as well as different grains.

Most people are familiar with chickpeas because everyone loves falafel, but their nutlike flavor makes them a great addition to your baked goods, from cookies to bread. In The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, Sheldon Margen, M.D. writes that chickpeas have at least 9 grams of protein, 3 milligrams of iron, and 49 milligrams of calcium per serving size. Incorporating chickpea flour in your baked goods is a great way to sneak in a little more nutrition and reduce the amount of gluten in your diet.

Chickpea flour can easily be prepared at home using dried chickpeas and your food processor or blender. Once you’ve made a fresh batch of chickpea flour, then you can try your hand at some amazing recipes. I especially love these chickpea parathas from A Brown Table and these versatile tartlet shells from Green Kitchen Stories.

how to make chickpea flour

Shopping & Storing

When shopping for dried chickpeas, make sure that you inspect the legumes before putting them in your basket. If the chickpeas are in a box or bag, then you’ll want to check to see if there is any damage. The chickpeas should be brightly colored without any insect damage. The easiest way to find insect damage is to look for small pinholes in the surface of the chickpeas. If the legumes are cracked or broken, then you may want to look for another box or bag. If you can’t find dried chickpeas in a bag, then I would suggest looking at the bulk section in your local health food store. You can store chickpeas in an airtight container for up to a year. Make sure that you keep the beans away from moisture.

How to Make Chickpea Flour 

Making chickpea flour is as simple as loading a cup of dried chickpeas into your blender or food processor and turning it on full speed. It takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes to fully process the chickpeas. I was left with a small amount of coarse chickpeas after processing, so I simply returned them to the blender and started over. I recommend doing this one cup at a time so you don’t exhaust or burn out your food processor or blender. After done blending the chickpeas, you’ll find that 1 cup of chickpeas yields about 1 ¼ cup of chickpea flour, or 150g.

  1. Add 1 cup of chickpeas to a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth and use a sieve to filter chickpea flour into a large bowl.
  3. Return any larger pieces to the blender and repeat until smooth.

how to make chickpea flour

Lemon Chia Seed Upside Down Skillet Cake

lemon chia seed berry upside down cake

On Sunday morning, I get a FaceTime notification from an unknown number and I’m staring at Kevin in amazement. Who would FaceTime me with a number that I don’t know? A few minutes later I get a notification on my phone and it’s my dad – looks like I forgot his work number! After laughing it off, I call my parents back and chat with them while laying on the couch. They are still waking up with their coffee and I’m just getting back from the garden. There isn’t a day that goes by without a new published article focusing on our relationship to technology, but in these moments, I’m grateful for this handheld device that gives me a small window back home.

I left eight years ago to come to school in Massachusetts and ended up staying. I don’t know if I had the intention to stay, but here I am! Discussions about home are tricky because it’s easy to fall back on nostalgia. Your family, chosen or biological, are some of the few people who will know you well. They have seen you evolve over the years and can tell you stories about the person you were that will make you feel like a stranger to yourself. Like that one time your split your chin open on portable stairs or the time your family convinced you that you were adopted (thanks for that one dad!).

The people who matter know your vulnerabilities. They know how to ask you the questions that make you question yourself. They know your blind spots. It’s with these people, that most of us feel safe enough to finally let the windows open to air out some of the dust that’s been building up inside. We all need that someone.

There are plenty of books out there about marriage and partnerships, but few about friendship. A google search on friendship doesn’t turn up anything show-stopping, yet life without close friends feels less human. It feels like the opposite of home.

This month, you’ll find me kickin’ it with friends, chatting over news, hail storms, and how badass this article about leisure is. Maybe there will be more cake on Fridays and video chatting with nephews and nieces who call me ‘nuncle’ and have plenty of tales to tell about ‘blue slides’. You’ll find me in the garden, on the trails, and swimming to give my body some rest for the late summer months.


Prep Time: 20 min | Cook Time: 30-45 min | Serves: 12

Fresh fruit is my favorite during the summertime, like most people. We don’t have an ice cream maker or paletas molds, but we do have cake. And even in the summer – I like cake. Not the towering ones with chocolate and sweet frosting. The type of cake that is more like fruity bread is exactly what I want to be eating for dessert. The lemon cake is refreshing during the summer and the chia seeds are a nice substitution for poppy. We had a can of coconut cream in the back of the fridge that I whipped together with a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla to drizzle on top.

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, cashew or almond
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup & 2 tbs sugar in the raw
1/2 cup & 2 tbs sunflower oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbs oat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

3 tbs vegan butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1 plum, sliced
2 figs, chopped
1/2 apple, sliced
2 tbs basil

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Prep vegetables by cutting strawberries, figs, plums, and apples. Add chopped basil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes & whisk until frothy. Whisk together with sugar in the raw, lemon juice, and sunflower oil until completely mixed together.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until the batter is completely smooth.
  6. In a cast iron skillet, heat butter and maple syrup for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture turns deep gold. Remove from the heat, let cool for 2-3 minutes. Add fresh fruit and cover with batter.
  7. Bake for 45-60 min, or until a toothpick or fork is removed without batter.



Spicy Lentils with Coconut Cauliflower Rice & Mint Salsa Fresca

cauliflower rice & spicy lentils


I’ve been logging more mileage this past month. Now that my injuries have healed and my body is coming back into balance, I’m excited to head out on long runs along the ocean. In the morning, I lace up my shoes and head out on the pavement. Nervousness is usually sitting on my shoulder, no matter how many miles I run. At this point, I’m used to the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, but each run carries unexpected pains and joys. Last Sunday was warm and sunny. At 6 am the air was already thick like syrup and the birds were determined to wake up the entire neighborhood. Sometimes, I think that I love the mix of air and warm sun on my skin more than the road. Other times, I’m enchanted by the way my body (and all bodies!) can move through space and time. Sure, this probably sounds bizarre, but I find it liberating – to be able to walk out my door on my own two feet and cover 20 miles. Some days, running is about feeling strong in my own skin, and other days it’s about leaning on my friends. Running is a peaceful practice that helps me feel present in my body, but it can unexpectedly bring up the painful stuff.

I’ll occasionally crash a few days after my long runs where I feel generally moody and mad hungry. Does this happen to other runners? I’m trying to figure out if this has to do with nutrition or it’s my body naturally coming back into balance. This week, I turned to Pema Chodron and Tara Brach for wisdom, took long baths, and fell asleep on the couch at 9 o’clock. If you’re at a stage in your life where you want to look deeper into physical and emotional pain, then check out this episode about exploring pain through meditation. In all honesty, I have a fickle relationship to meditation, but it’s always there to pick back up when my head feels turned upside down. Sometimes my practice is woven into my long runs and other times I just need to stop and give myself the space to sit.

Despite the digital milieu that often encourages unhealthy competition, consumerism, and general nastiness – I’m grateful for these digital oases. Whether I’m listening to the Rich Roll Podcast or Jessica Murnane’s One Part Podcast or browsing through recipes and stories from Happyolks and The First Mess, I’m thankful for all of their awareness, gumption, and generosity that keeps me moving and inspired.

Last weekend brought up some of the painful stuff, like feeling uncertain and small. These are early warning signs that I’ve been spending too much time hiding behind a screen and not enough time chatting on the phone with friends, calling my sister to let her know that I love her, or having those tough conversations that expose my heart. It’s easy to feel small and hide away with the curtains drawn. There are so many wonderful people in this city that I’ve been too shy to ask out for dinner or jog alongside down by the river. Last night, I finally found breathing room in the kitchen over lentils, spice and mint, which have become some of my favorite summer flavors. Sometimes, it just takes the quiet of my apartment kitchen to help me reconnect with the parts of myself that want to be imperfect & unafraid.



Prep Time: 20-30 min | Cook Time: 15-20 min | Serves: 2

We eat a lot of rice around these parts, so I’ve been looking for something else to change it up and came across this idea to turn cauliflower into rice. Instead of olive oil, I used coconut oil to give the rice a lighter flavor. I also wanted a somewhat sweet oil that would pair well with spicy cumin and coriander in the lentils. As always, summer is about lightening up, opening the windows, and and making meals that won’t bog us down in the heat. I like this meal because it’s filling, but not too heavy, with the right amount of kick.

1 head cauliflower, ground
1 tbs coconut oil

1 cup lentils, cooked & drained
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper

1 sweet onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 ripe vine tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
handful of cilantro & mint
pinch of sea salt

  1. Chop cauliflower into florets. Leave the large stems behind and place the small florets into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
  2. In a medium saucepan or skillet, heat coconut oil. Add ground cauliflower and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft and fluffy like rice.
  3. In a food processor, pulse carrots and onions until finely chopped, set aside. In a skillet, heat 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Once oil is warm, add garlic and onions. Cook for 1-3 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
  4. Add cooked lentils, carrots, and spices. Cook for 10-12 minutes so that your spices have time to season your ingredients.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together chopped sweet onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice, cilantro, mint, and sea salt. Add julienned mint and cilantro.
  6. Put this dish together by placing your spicy lentils on top of your cauliflower rice and finish off with mint & cilantro salsa fresca on top.


You’ve broken all the promises you ever made
and few that you did, and they turned around
and broke you right back.
So bet it.

-Mindy Nettifee, Rise of the Trust Fall-



Tostones y Mojo


Half of the dinners around here are quinoa bowls and fresh greens. The rest are filled with arroz junto and tostones. I never tasted mojo and gandules verdes while living on the west coast. Years later, Kevin laughs at me because I keep a jar of homemade sofrito and acchiote oil in the back of the refrigerator like his grandmother, but hey – what’s a guy to do?! These ingredients aren’t easy to find at the store without loads of additives like MSG. This recipe for tostones, or fried green plantains, and mojo are staples that we have at least every month. If you’ve been to our apartment, then you know that it’s a rite of passage to sit around the table with us and load up tostones with avocado and mojo while playing dominos.

After work, I bike home through Back Bay to Roxbury. I bike down the road where his aunt lives. It’s nice having his family in the city when I’m so far away from my own. I know that I’ve made it back to the neighborhood when I reach Fuentes market on the corner of Tremont and Parker Street. There is a giant Puerto Rican flag hanging in the parking lot and the guy across the street always has bachata playing for the neighborhood. I love to stop at the market for plantains. I’ve recently let little bits of my budding Spanish vocabulary spill out over the counter. They’re always patient with my inability to conjugate verbs and smile, either apologetically or enthusiastically.

I’ve learned that I’m a person who likes to set up home anywhere I go. At my desk at work, you’ll find plants from my coworker and crystals from our apartment. If I start to get lost in the shuffle of the day, then these tiny objects remind me to come back into myself. Food is this way. There are so many scents and flavors that bring me home. When Kevin and I first started cooking these recipes together, they reminded him of his family. Other than being delicious, they didn’t mean much to me. Now, late night tostones con mojo remind me of the small home we’ve built here in Boston, of Kevin teaching me how to smash plantains in the kitchen two years ago, and the one time I out-did his arroz junto by doing some food blog trolling.

Our kitchen table has weathered some storms (including the snowiest winter in Boston’s history) and helped us celebrate our first meal with Kevin’s family. These days, singing in the kitchen and frying plantains together has become tradition. I feel more present in my body and connected to the world when I can let my guard down and be my goofy self, who only knows the chorus to Romeo Santos songs, sings back-up to an ex-gospel choir singer and who still believes that we’re all here, just trying to become our best selves.


Prep Time: 20 min | Cook Time: 10 min | Serves: 2

2 green plantains
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tbs hot sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch of coarse sea salt
pinch of ground pepper

1 head of garlic
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbs water
pinch of slat & oregano

tostones recipe

  1. Peel green plantains and slice at a diagonal angle into 1″ thick pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together hot sauce, lemon, sea salt, and ground pepper.
  3. Fry the plantains for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  4. Remove from heat and use the bottom of a jar or glass to smash into 1/2″ thick plantains.
  5. Dip in aguacante and fry again for 1-2 minutes, until deep gold on each side.

1. In a food processor, add garlic, lemon juice, water, salt, and oregano. Purée until smooth.

tostones recipe

tostones recipe

tostones recipe


Coconut Granola w/ Blueberries & Almonds

coconut granola with blueberries and almonds

I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s been quieter than usual around these parts. I dedicated the past couple of weeks to time away from the habitual and routine. I picked up my old copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude and found myself lost in story, again. Too much has happened since my last post to cover in detail – Kevin and I celebrated our anniversary, we went hiking up in the White Mountains and watched the sunset in a gondola together at a tiny amusement park up in New Hampshire. Summer is blissful, especially after the challenges of last winter. Our garden is slowly growing and I barely have enough time to water and pull weeds, but it’s all holding together in some kind of orderly fashion.

Whenever I call my older sister she has two little ones hanging off her clamoring to talk with me or grab her attention. I’m here just trying to hold myself together and not kill the cactus, while she’s over there taking care of tiny humans! I hope that I’m lucky enough to inherit some of her verve, wit, and patience. She’s the only person I know that can chat about her freelance writing gigs while making sure her kids don’t go haywire and (at the same time) listen to every word about biking to work, my job, and life in the city – all glamour and un-glamour at the same time.

I think about these moments a lot, or chatting with friends on the phone in London and California, not because I’m lost in nostalgia, but because when I slow down enough to experience these moments – I can’t help but smile.

 – Coconut Granola w/ Blueberries & Almonds –

coconut granola with blueberries and almonds

Prep Time: 10-15 min.   |    Cook Time: 30 min.    |   Serving Size: 4    |    Oven Temperature: 375°

This is a simple granola recipe that Kevin and I packed up on our way to the White Mountains for our anniversary. We had one of those trail moments where we couldn’t stop devouring it bit-by-bit. I love the way the sugars from the fruit melt into the oats and make crunchy and sugary clusters. I’m all about that sweetness.

4 cups organic oats
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1/2 toasted coconut, plain
1/4 maple syrup
2 tbs chia seeds
pinch sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a baking 9×12″ baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, maple syrup, chia seeds, and salt. Once it’s completely mixed, add coconut and gently stir in blueberries.

3. Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, turn the oats over halfway through to cook both sides. Let stand for 15-20 minutes and grab some on the go or mix together with coconut cream for a delicious dessert.

coconut granola with blueberries and almonds

coconut granola with blueberries and almonds


696_698_Blueberry Granola

coconut granola with blueberries and almonds

Chickpea & Shiitake Turmeric Burgers


“Whenever we’ve become addicted to judging and mistrusting ourselves, any sincere gesture of care to the wounded places can bring about radical transformation. Our suffering then becomes a gateway to the compassion that can free our heart. When we become the holder of our own sorrows, our old roles as judge, adversary, or victim are no longer being fueled. In their place we find not a new role, but a courageous openness, and a capacity for genuine tenderness—not only for ourselves, but for others as well.”

– Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance 

Chickpea & Shiitake Turmeric Burgers with Chili Lime Sweet Potato Fries


1/2 cup cooked quinoa
16 oz chickpeas, soaked and drained or rinsed from the can
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 large shiitake mushroom
2 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbs oat flour
1/2 tsp ground mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs olive oil
pinch of salt

2 sweet potato
1 juice lime
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbs light beer
4 tbs tapioca flour

  1. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°. Wash and slice sweet potato into thin strips, leaving the skin on. In a medium bowl, mix fries together with lime juice, beer, chili powder, and tapioca flour. The tapioca flour will form a hard crust on the outside of the fries, making them nice and crunchy when they come out of the oven. Place in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, turn the fries over and bake for another 15 minutes or until crispy.
  3. In a food processor, pulse chickpeas and shiitake mushrooms until coarsely chopped. Add quinoa, spring onions, garlic, lemon juice and cashews. Mix until coarsely chopped, then add raw cashews and pulse until incorporated into the mixture. Stir in mustard seed, turmeric, salt, and oat flour. Shape into patties and roll in breadcrumbs, covering the surface. Set in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, or until patties firmly hold together.
  4. Remove the patties from the refrigerator. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cook the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until a crunchy crust forms. Pop in the oven with the fries for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Top your burger with avocado smash, dill and alfalfa sprouts, sweet onions, and cheesy tahini dressing. I also kept some tahini dressing on the side so I could dip as often as I wanted.



Mango Turmeric Sunrise Smoothie


We stood in the garden in hiking boots and a fistful of seeds that hold so much hope and promise for the future. I look out over our garden plot and it’s just dirt. A big pile of dirt. I can’t call it a garden yet because we haven’t planted a thing. Do I really know what I’m doing? Without my grandparents to help me out this whole garden business is feeling a lot more serious than I imagined. Inside I feel worried about whether or not these tiny seeds will actually grow or if I’ll remember to water them every day this week.

I run into the garden organizer and she asks me how our garden is doing. I mumble through some sentences about how the lettuce is just starting to grow and how about how I accidentally killed the strawberries. I let her know that our tomatoes haven’t come up yet and a smile crawls across her face. And she tells me that tomatoes don’t do well when they are sewn directly into the soil. Oh boy, why didn’t I think of that? I look at my feet. I’m sure she can tell that my face has flushed with embarrassment.

I look up and she’s smiling, so is Kevin. He’s standing with our friends proudly showing off the tiny lettuce shoots and I hear him say, well we’ll just have to wait and see. My heart settles. Exhale. Between Ena and Kevin’s smile, I know it’s going to be o.k – whether the tomatoes grow or not, whether the strawberries die because I forgot to water them, or whether we grow the most bizarre lopsided vegetables. Too often, I can feel myself thinking like a full cup. I can’t find space for new ideas because I’m holding on too tight to the ones that I have. These moments are an all out tip. A forceful spill of the careful balance that I’ve been clinging on to for months. Most times, I don’t even know that I’m doing it.

When you have taken care of yourself for so long, it becomes a necessity to have all the answers. My early-twenties have been about trying to keep all the pieces together. In the last few years I’ve juggled moving to new apartments without a car and figuring out how to work mini indulgences into a budget that is hacking away at some pretty big student debt. It’s not easy. There are days I find myself worrying over the little things and wishing for more answers. For awhile, I felt like I was on this journey alone – but it’s not true. I’m not trying to tell you that everything is great and everyone out there is super helpful, but it’s the people that offer their forgiveness, love, and support when the times get tough who really make this life what it is.

It’s the warm smiles and laughter in the garden when you’ve just failed at growing tomatoes that can help you see the kind and gentle parts of this earth. I know that when I stay up all night to finish a freelance project so I can book a weekend away or get a new surfboard, that someone will be there to drink tea with me in the morning or grub out on coconut ice cream the night after when I’m falling asleep before 10 pm. Remember to meditate. Drink your smoothies. Things are going to be alright.

mango turmeric smoothie

I’m consistently drinking one smoothie a day right now. I’ve been putting together new smoothie recipes, because let’s face it, you can’t have a green smoothie every day of the week. Or maybe you can, but this is for those weeks when you want to venture out a little bit. I started taking turmeric a couple months ago when I was babying a running injury and it seems like I can’t get enough of it. Now that I’m all healed, I’m still spicing up drinks and snacks (like popcorn) with a little turmeric. This smoothie has a nice balance of sweet and savory and will thicken up the longer you let it sit.

Mango Turmeric Sunrise Smoothie

2 mangos, peeled and cut
1/2 cup almonds, blanched
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp chia seeds
1 cup cashew milk
1 cup cold water
5 dates, pitted and chopped
2 bananas, peeled and chopped

Combine all the ingredients in your blender; blend for 2-4 minutes until all the ingredients are smooth. You can add extra dates for a thicker smoothie or a pinch of 1/2 tsp extra turmeric. Add fresh bananas and chia seeds on top.







Plum & Blackberry Fruit Salad with Rooibos Syrup


when i was younger
i told my mother
i say, one day i’m gonna make you proud

now that i’m older
it’s so much harder
to say those words out loud

when i was younger, i asked my father
why are we so human?
now that i’m older
i think i figured it out
we’re just doing what we can

– Liz Lawrence –


1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
1 plum, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup cherries, pitted
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
2 tbs chopped pistachios
2 leaves, spearmint
garnish with rooibos syrup

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tbs local honey
3 tbs loose leaf rooibos tea

1. In a small pot, mix 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 tbs local honey. Stir until sugar dissolves. Measure 3 tbs of rooibos tea into a metal strainer and submerge in the pan. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, cool, and stir in an airtight container.

2. In a small bowl, add fruits. chopped pistachios, and garnish with julienned spearmint and rooibos syrup. 




Spring Onion Pesto & Olive Bread


If you walk down the steps of our apartment, past the two doors on the end of our street, then you come to a long hill. One side of the road is lined with trees and the other is filled up with houses carved into black, crumbling Puddingstone. In the middle of the hill, you’ll find the Lower Crite Gardens fenced off by a short wire fence. The garden sits in between two small brownstones. The neighborhood has worked for years to keep the the space available. There is a pathway that winds its way up from the Lower Crite Gardens to the Upper Crite Gardens, where you’ll find bees and a peeling, turquoise building used for farm sharing classes and community meetings.

Our garden plot is at the front of four rows, closest to the street. I spent the afternoon there pulling weeds and hauling loads of compost. When I was finished, the neighbor came over and showed me around his garden plot. In the middle of his garden there are 3-5 foot kale stalks leftover from last year. He said that he dug a hole at the back of his garden and found remnants of old buildings. I asked one of the other neighbors about the history of the gardens and he heard a few places burnt down on the hill during the 1960s and nobody ever rebuilt them. And in an article I read, I found that our garden is one of projects that stemmed from a community effort, spearheaded by Augusta Baily, to preserve open spaces in the neighborhood.

At dinner with our friends the other night, I find myself telling them about all of this – ee, yikes! I can really go off like this sometimes. I like to know the details, especially when it comes to history. I can go on about Augusta Baily and why she was interested in open spaces. It can get really out of hand if I’m not careful. But it’s stories like these that help me find meaning in my surroundings. I can walk out the door and say, hey, old Augusta Baily was over there working on getting these gardens up and running.

The soil has seen forty years of gardeners, all coming and going with their own stories. I wish I could travel back in time and ask the people who worked in the garden before me about their lives – What were their hopes and dreams? How does the world look from 1960? I’ll never know the answer to these questions, but I can enjoy the bits and pieces of stories that make it through time. I feel like there is one thing I know about them – that we all share this love for seeing things grow from seed to stalk, digging our hands in the dirt, and feeling like a part of something greater than ourselves.

– Spring Onion Pesto & Olive Bread –

spring onion pesto & olive bread

I’ve been spending more time in the garden lately. Our neighbor showed me all the places to find fresh mint and spring onions. They grow between the garden beds, along the walkways. Almost every time I’m in the garden, I pick up mint and spring onions to bring home to cook into something. It feels nice to have an ingredient I can pick up right down the road. Sometimes when I’m making dinner, I’ll run to the garden to grab some to throw into a dish. Our basil plants are slowly growing, so I thought this would be a nice way to use all the spring onions that a lot of the gardeners think of as weeds.

1 cup spring onions, packed
3/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
generous pinch of salt

2¼ tsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tbs raw sugar
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cups whole wheat flour
½ stuffed green olives

To Prepare the Pesto:

1. Add chopped spring onions to food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until it forms a smooth paste. Add olive oil and salt. Puree until smooth. You can add additional salt, olive oil, or nutritional yeast for extra flavor. 

To Prepare the Olive Bread:

1. This recipe makes 2 loaves of olive bread, so you can have one for tonight and one for tomorrow. In a large bowl, mix together yeast and ¼ of water. Mix in 1 cup of sugar until it dissolves. Let stand for 10 minutes. Then mix in leftover water, as well as the olive oil and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together the flours and salt. Once the liquid mixture has stood for 10 minutes, add half of the flour to the mixture. Slowly work in the remaining flour mixture and olives until a loose dough forms. 

3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic once it’s done. If your dough starts to stick to the surface, then add more flour. 

4. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and lightly brush the top with oil as well. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch the dough down on a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form into round or oval loaves. Place them on an oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise for another hour, or until doubled in size.

6. Preheat the oven to 375°. Run a sharp knife along the top of the bread. If you want to make a fun pattern, then you can also make cuts that stem from the center, which will make your loaf have a fun leaf design on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes in the center of your oven until the loaves are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack before serving. 

vegan olive bread781_785

Rooibos Tea

rooibos tea

1 tsp per cup | 212° | Steep for 3-5 minutes

I drink tea all day long! I used to drink five or six cups a day, but I cut back because it was getting to be too much. Now, I enjoy my black tea or roasted mate in the morning and follow-up with a variety of herbal teas during the day. I’ve long been obsessed with rooibos tea, or African red bush tea. One of my friend’s aunts used to send him red bush tea from South Africa that we would drink after runs or when we were just hanging out. This quickly became one of my favorite teas because of its sweet, earthy flavor.

rooibos tea spread

History of Rooibos Tea

Unlike a lot of other teas, rooibos tea is from the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa. The tea leaves, or nettles, are harvested from the red bush, or aspalathus linearis. The tea was originally harvested and used by Cederberg’s indigenous communities, but the arrival of the Dutch in the late eighteenth century and a German settler with ties to tea manufacturing brought this type of tea to the world.1  Although the tea was introduced to the world market during the first half of the twentieth century, it didn’t take off until the 1970’s when Annique Theron published a book about the health benefits of tea.

Like many other teas, and wine for that matter, location matters. Rooibos is exclusively grown in South Africa. Since rooibos has been gaining popularity in the West over the last few years, tea production has largely moved to full-scale agricultural production versus harvesting wild rooibos. In fact, South Africa now exports 6,000 tons of rooibos every year.2 Like other forms of international tea production, making sure that farmers receive a fair wage for their effort is one of the most important factors. Tea cooperatives have given producers control over production, pricing, and processing, rather than having to work through middlemen that take a large cut of the profits. Alternative trade organizations and fair trade companies are mission-driven distributors that are trying to make sure small farmers receive the profit they deserve.

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea

Except for the fact that rooibos tea is completely delicious, many people have picked up the tea drinking habit for the health benefits. Rooibos tea has a long list of health benefits, including its antioxidant content. If you’re cutting back on caffeine, then good news – rooibos is caffeine free! One cup of tea provides you with protein, calcium, magnesium, and enough fluoride to produce a anti-cariogenic effect, which means that it helps prevent tooth decay.3 When consumed too frequently, the high tannin level of black teas can have harsh effects on your body. Rooibos tea has a low tannin level, so it doesn’t interfere with digesting protein. Here are some of the highlights of the health benefits of rooibos tea:

  • Contains protein, calcium, and magnesium
  • Reduce nervous tension & help produce sound sleep
  • Rich source of antioxidants due to its flavanoid content4
  • Reduces oxidative stress

rooibos tea

Flavor Profile of Rooibos Tea

Now that you know all about rooibos tea, you might want to brew yourself a cup. The best rooibos tea can be found in your local health food store. Look for Fair Trade, loose-leaf tea. Brew 1 tsp of tea in 8oz of 212° water for 3-5 minutes. Rooibos has a sweet, earthy flavor that fills up your palette quickly. It’s delicious when added to cookies, breads, and pancakes.

Quinoa & Currant Bread Loaf


Now that it’s spring, the sun rises in Boston around 5:30. I usually set my alarm clock to wake up at 5:30, but it never happens. My body is still in winter mode – no way am I getting out of bed that early (yet?). I am a morning ritual kind of person. The weird guy who wakes up early to go for a run, read, pour a cup of tea, and head off to work. It’s quiet. I like to wake up before the city, or at least before most people in the city are moving around. It gives me a chance to take a breath of air before the day gets going.

It’s warm (yay!) and the doc has given me the thumbs-up, so I’m running again. Much slower than I was a few months ago, but I’m running, finally. It felt good to get out and move my legs over the past few days. At lunch, I ran along the Charles River where everything is in full bloom. Around Back Bay, Boston starts to feel like a college town. The students at all the major universities in the city are graduating, so their families are here and the city is alive with so much change.

Despite all the newness, Boston is still known for its historical landmarks. A couple doors down from our apartment you’ll find the house of William Lloyd Garrison, one of the most famous abolitionists and author of The Liberator (says the plaque in front of the estate). We have a fort leftover from the revolutionary war. At the top of the hill there is a skyline view of Boston. In the morning, when the grass is still wet and the sun isn’t strong enough to make everything sticky, I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement (or trails if I can find them).

At physical therapy today, the PT told me that I need to take more rest days. Run less. Give my body a break. I’m the kind of person that’s all or nothing. It’s not that I try to be that way, it just happens. It’s kind of always been that way. I find something that I enjoy doing, or a song that I like listening to, and I run it into the ground. No balance.

Huh, what a concept?

She didn’t say do nothing. She suggested cycling, swimming, cross-training. Do something different. It was hard to hear, which I think goes for most times that I’m out of balance – it totally sucks when somebody has to hold up the mirror and says, hey don’t forget to work on this part of your life. And I have a bunch of resistance to running less. After she told me, I was just silent. I had to take a moment to get my composure, listen to what she was saying.

I have to believe that our bodies (sometimes) do things to send us messages about our lives – or at least mine does. She’s right. I was running too much. I’ve been doing too much. Luckily, nobody said we have to be the same people we were yesterday. There is always space to throw ourselves into something new. Here’s to having the patience, tenacity, and grace to be someone different than we are today.

Quinoa-Whole Wheat Bread with Currants


I love rustic loaves of bread that I can eat in the morning with some kind of nut butter, avocado, or roasted squash. This whole-wheat loaf of bread is earthy and lightly sweetened with maple syrup, which gives it a nice caramel flavor. The currants add a tannic sweetness to the bread that gives the loaf more complexity that is super delicious. This recipe was adapted from Quinoa-Whole Wheat Bread with Raisins from Saveur.

Yields: 1 Loaf


¼ cup toasted flax seeds
5 tbs red quinoa
3 oz. active yeast
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ¾ tbs sea salt
1 tbs maple syrup
½ cup currants

  1. Heat quinoa in a small pot for 2-3 minutes, until lightly toasted. Add 1 cup + 2 tbs of water. Reduce heat to medium and cover, so that the quinoa can simmer until the water is fully absorbed. The quinoa should be soft and fluffy after 25-30 minutes. Once the quinoa is done cooking, add toasted flax seeds and let sit until cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together yeast, flours, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour. In a medium bowl, mix together maple syrup and 1 ½ cups of water. Pour this mixture into the well until a loose, sticky dough forms. Add quinoa, flax, and raisins.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. Shape the dough into a tight, round ball and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 4 hours.
  4. Remove dough from the bowl and turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 3 minutes, incorporating more air into the dough. Let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. Prepare your oven for baking the bread by placing one rack on the top third of the oven and the other on the bottom third. Heat oven to 480°. Transfer the dough to a baking pan and slice with a leaf pattern. Brush the dough with water.
  6. Bake the dough for 15 minutes on the bottom third of the oven. Transfer the bread to the upper rack for 15-20 minutes. Let the bread cool completely before serving.


Flour and Currants

Quinoa and Dough



quinoa whole wheat bread


Hazelnut & Pumpkin Seed Butter

pumpkin seed and hazelnut butter

When I was younger, I planted pole beans, squash, and strawberries all around our house. Nothing did that well because the canopy blocked out most of the sun. My great grandparents had land in California where they would grow grapes, cherries, squash, peppers, and a lot more. My other grandma planted fifteen tomato plants one summer and installed a greenhouse in her backyard. I guess, we are a family of small farmers – the kind that grow the necessary herbs and vegetables. On my great grandparents property, there was even a small shed where they kept all their canned food after the growing season, so they could enjoy their produce year-round. I hope that being around so many people who knew something about the land will rub off – I just found out that I got a community garden plot for the growing season!

On Saturday, there was a compost workshop in the gardens (which are right behind our apartment). I spent the afternoon talking to the neighbors and turning the compost piles. The neighbors are looking to transform the wooded area behind our apartment into a permaculture farm, complete with fruit-bearing trees. There is a bee keeping box that got its start this spring, chives that grow like weeds, and poppies that spill out onto the walkways.

I learned the neighbors by name – from the guy with all of his plants in the window to the one with the big house cut into puddingstone. We walked around the gardens and they were nice enough to share their knowledge about the best place in the neighborhood for a summer picnic, where to find fresh raspberries, and the story of how the gardens came to be. After Saturday, the neighborhood feels like it’s filled with more meaning.

I am sitting down this week to plan out which herbs and vegetables we are going to plant, but this time, I’m not eighteen years old trying to grow strawberries in the shade. I feel more certain. More honest about my limitations in the garden and where I can lean on the knowledge of other gardeners.

I can’t wait to see how the garden grows and changes this summer. Some of the other gardeners, who have been there as long as ten years, have their plans done well in advance. Some plots are already showing signs of growth. Ours is mainly just soil now, but I can’t help but wonder, if all of our plots are a reflection of where we’re at in life. I hope ours fills up with the same kind of passion that permeates our mid-twenties.

 -Pumpkin Seed & Hazelnut Butter-

pumpkin seed and hazelnut butter

I’ve always had an affinity for homemade butters. I started by making peanut butter when I was a teenager and it’s been going ever since. I love this pumpkin seed & hazelnut butter as a snack – spread on crackers, toast, or an apple. Sometimes I get home from work and I need a little something to hold me over. I know that alternative butters can be expensive in the store and even when you make them at home. I was really inspired by this post about homemade nut and seed butter from Green Kitchen Stories. Not only did I like their recipes (still need to try the maple turmeric nut butter), but I was really appreciative of their tip on how to make those expensive/rarer nuts go a long way. Add seeds!

1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2-3 pinches coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300°. Roast the hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds together for 10-12 minutes. The nuts and seeds will be lightly golden and release a nutty aroma. Remove from the oven and blend in a food processor with sea salt for 10-20 minutes. Blend in 3-4 minute batches if you want to make sure that your food processor doesn’t overheat.

Pumpkin Seeds and Hazelnuts_Image 1Preground Pumpkin Seeds and Hazelnuts_ImagePureed Hazelnut and Pumpkin Seed Butter_Image 3

pumpkin seed and hazelnut butter

Pressed Boston Review

pressed boston review

Pressed Boston is one of the newest additions to the local food scene that is catering to Bostonians who value high-quality food on-the-go. A few weeks ago, we faced the less than average temperatures to make our way to Charles Street. A new on-the-go juice bar and eatery is nestled at the base of Boston’s Beacon HIll, just down the road from the historic Charles Street meeting house and the Boston Public Gardens. The street captures the most romantic elements of New England, from its cobblestone sidewalks to brownstone buildings. At the intersection along the public gardens, many of the buildings have extensions or rooftop gardens that combine both contemporary and old-world style. My favorite sight on the way is an out-of-place home that pays homage to traditional eastern european design with its high yellow fence, bright three-dimensional sunflowers above the door, and maroon foundry siding.

pressed boston review

At 120 Charles Street, Pressed Boston is nestled in a cozy brownstone about five or six feet above street level. There is a large set of windows at the front of the store where patrons can sit to enjoy a quick bite. The traditional entrance is balanced by the simple and sophisticated interior and that was designed by architect, Chris Kofitsas, who incorporated elements of modern, urban, vintage, and industrial design. The interior uses natural fibers, such as light wood and vintage metal lighting, to create a simple and natural aesthetic. The space is small, which caters to its clientele that come to pick up food while on-the-go or stop for a quick bite at the front windows.

pressed boston review

In Boston, it’s rare to find a quick and simple menu that includes everything from smashed avocado with roasted pepitas to non-dairy cashew ricotta cheese. The plates range from $9-13 and a fresh juice is anywhere from $9.50-$10. We split the Jackfruit Banh Mi (since discontinued, so sad!) and the Portobello, Cashew Ricotta, and Apple-Onion Jam Sandwich and washed it all away with fresh Selenium and Manganese juice. The sweet and spicy jackfruit was a refreshing twist on the classic banh mi, replacing seasoned tofu with jackfruit. I saw somewhere that jackfruit can taste like chicken, but I think it shares more similarities in terms of texture to tuna and the flavor profile is sweet and tangy. The selenium juice contains seasonal vegetables, like beets, fennel, and oranges that are perfect for an extra dose of iron or calcium. When the ground finally thaws in New England, I’m looking forward to trying one of their paletas, which range from cardamon vanilla plum to avocado tangerine. The founders, Ashley Gleeson and David Clendenin, carefully designed a simple and nutritious menu after meeting with chef Joya Carlton, who was the head chef of the well-known NYC juice bar, The Butcher’s Daughter.

pressed boston review

It’s rare to find a healthy grab-and-go in New England that has so many fresh recipes on the menu. The staff was patient and helpful as I indecisively scanned through the menu weighing my options – something that is rare for veggie lovers in Boston. The front window was too crowded to stay, so we ended up taking the food on the go and settling at home with our sandwiches and juice over a game of dominos.

pressed boston review

In March, I went back to meet with the owners/staff and photograph the space. I had so much fun hanging out with them for the morning while they opened up shop. They were nice enough to let me poke around and take some photographs. I asked questions and got to try a few more of their dishes and meet the chef. I really love the people behind Pressed Boston – they are down-to-earth, kind, and fun. If you are in the neighborhood, or need something healthy in a hurry, then stop by and see for yourself.