Nuts

Figgy baked oatmeal with peaches, anise, poppy seeds, & flax.

Peachy.

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My Dad called me peachy as a child, it was his favorite nick name. Occasionally he will still call me peachy, especially if I am doing something a little childish. The other night I called my Dad and felt like I was making the phone call under peachy's alias. I was calling about my foot. A minor injury I've had in my foot for a good portion of the summer finally screamed "I've had enough" and burst into flames across my metatarsal and toes. My foot is so sensitive, swollen, and inflamed it makes it very difficult to walk, stand, or bend. I've been trying to hit it hard with some anti-inflammatory herbs and rest but it was so painful that night I called my Dad. I needed to tap into his bit of medical knowledge. I was ranting about my unrealistic concerns and spouting that my foot needed amputation or that I had a flesh-eating bacteria in my pain-induced delusion. I wanted him to say that it was ok to go to the ER but, in reality, I needed someone to talk peachy out of going to the ER... which my Dad did of course. I came back to myself, calmed down, took some medicine, complained to Ty, and went to sleep... the next day I still had my foot. Thanks for Dads and for nicknames like peachy. Thanks for peachy and figgy baked oatmeal. I'm still unable to stand/walk very much so I haven't been able to do much cooking but I made this baked oatmeal this morning and my foot is glad that I did. 

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Recipe (Serves 4 large portions or 6 small - also keeps in the fridge well) 

Figs - 2 cups, fresh, cut into a mix of quarters/halves

Peaches - 2 fresh, pitted, pealed, and sliced

Oatmeal - 2 cups rolled oats 

Flax seed - 1/4 cup, ground in a processor or coffee grinder

Almonds - 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Poppy seeds - 2-3TB

Anise extract - 1/2 tsp

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Cinnamon stick - 1 stick (or 1tsp ground) 

Nutmeg - 1/4tsp

Sugar - 1-2TB

Butter - 4TB (2TB of it melted)

Egg - 1

Milk or milk alternative - 2 cups

Honey - 1/8 cup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and use 1/2 a TB of butter to butter a casserole dish capable of holding at least 6 cups. Melt 1.5TB of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once the butter is melted add in figs and peaches, caramelize for 6-8 minutes. Pour in the anise extract, stir, and turn off the heat.  Pour the fruit into the bottom of the buttered casserole dish. If using, break the cinnamon stick in half and tuck into the fruit. (If you are using the ground cinnamon save it to add in with the dried ingredients.) Toss together the oats, almonds, poppy seeds, ground flax, sugar, and nutmeg (and ground cinnamon, is using). Distribute the oat mixture over the fruit evenly. Whisk together the milk, egg, honey, melted butter, and vanilla extract together. Pour the milk mixture over the  oats/fruit evenly, trying to moisten all the oats. Place in the oven an bake for 40-45 minutes or until the oats are set and it is slightly golden. Serve warm and drizzled with a little extra melted butter, honey, or milk if desired. 

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Brussels sprouts, crispy tofu, & mustard vinaigrette salad

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After sorrows such as Monday's there are few things I feel like doing, cooking especially, and most likely most of the country is with me. I huddle on the bottom of the tub with my knees hugged to my chest with the warm shower flowing over my head, crying. I ask over and over why; everyone asks why. We keep asking because there is no way to comprehend it, it is so against human nature. Not only this event, but all of them in our country, in other countries. None are more tragic than another. We are so compelled to find reason in the madness. Some way to understand the hate and violence. There is so much violence all around the world fueled by hate, terrorism, sexism, racism, politics, and none of the tragedies from these crimes ever leaves us. Sometimes we forget tragedies that happen to our brothers and sisters around the world until something like this happens so close to home. But really, no matter the reason why, there is no way to understand it. It doesn't make sense. There is no justification for such a horrid acts of hate. The only way to combat it is love. Love for the victims, love for the families, love for our community, love for our country, love for the world. Hearing the stories of love, empathy, and heroism that came out of the chaos is a bit of hope. Witnessing the true human spirit coming out to offer love and support and to hear the reactions and the responses of victims is amazing. I hope that people will spread the love they share with their neighbors and apply it to the rest of the world, we need it. It is the only thing that helps the soul heal and calm down. For all the hate and insanity from people in this world, there is more love. 

“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” - Pooh

I made this salad last week. It takes me a bit to get back up and feel like cooking after all my emotions are drained. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. 

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Recipe (Serves 4) 

1 bunch brussels sprouts (1lb) - Red brussels or regular. Sliced (I cut each into 1/6ths)

Yellow onion - 1/2, chopped. 

1 package tofu - cut into small cubes and pre-pressed if desired.

Tarragon - 1-2 healthy springs, chopped fine

Slivered almonds - scant 1/4 cup

Peptias (Pumpkin seeds) - a handful. 

Lemon - Juice of 1 lemon

Olive oil - 3TB

Coconut oil - 2TB

White wine vinegar - 2tsp

Dijon mustard - about 2tsp

Honey - 1-2tsp

Salt/pepper - to taste

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Trim off the ends, and chop up the brussels sprouts into slices or into 6ths. Place in bowl and toss with 2TB olive oil and salt/pepper. Spread onto baking sheet and bake in oven for about 20 minuets, tossing half way through.  During the last 5 minutes, spread out the almonds on a separate pan and toast in the oven for the last 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile heat up a large skillet with 2TB of coconut oil on high heat (or olive oil, but in this case, on medium heat). Once hot add in your already pressed and cubed tofu. Toss in the oil and fry until crispy and golden. About 5-10 minutes. 

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Once Brussels sprouts and tofu is cooked, toss together in a bowl along with the chopped onion, tarragon, toasted almond slivers, and pepitas. Whisk together the honey, dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar. Then slowly drizzle in the 1-2TB of olive oil while whisking until you have reached your desired dressing consistency. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Lastly, squeeze over some fresh lemon juice, toss and distribute into bowls. If desired, top with a little extra tarragon.

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Banana, cherry, almond, walnut, & chia seed granola

Granola. 

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Granola. Pretty much all of us love it. Maybe that crunchy satisfying sound of munching on granola is in the same satisfaction family as intentionally stepping out of your way on the sidewalk to crunch fall leaves under your feet. I know you know what I am talking about. Whether you are a granola breakfast person, a granola snacker, a granola bar person, granola for hikes and after workouts, or a granola-omg-all-the-time-person. I use to make granola much more frequently at home than I do now, but I got a lot of granola-making obsession toasted out of my system when I had to make gianormous batches of granola at a time for a job. Also, in the colder months, I am a big lover of warm breakfasts but come nice warm weather I want granola, yogurt, museli, berries, and smoothies for the every-day breakfast. Homemade granola is one of the most flexible things to make that you really have to try making it, at least just once. No shame in store-bought granola, I do it all the time, its just satisfying to have a homemade granola occasionally, you'll see. You could substitute in all sorts of grains, nuts, dried fruit, sweeteners, oils, etc. Just play around with it add, subtract, substitute.... in the end it all comes down to that same happy crunch.

 

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Recipe (Makes a large batch, store in a air-tight container)

Oats - 4 cups

Bananas - 3

Walnut oil - 3TB (Or any oil) 

Dried cherries - 1/4 cups

Walnuts - 1/2 cup (crushed) 

Almonds slivered - 1/2 cup

Chia seeds - 1/4 cup

Cinnamon - 1tsp

Honey - 1/3 cup

Preheat the oven up to 400 degrees. Break the bananas into the blender with the oil and whip with the paddle attachment until the bananas are smooth and creamy. While the mixer is running, drizzle in the honey and add the 1tsp of cinnamon. Toss together the oats, cherries, walnuts, almonds, and chia seeds. Turn off the mixer and add in the oat/nut mixture, scraping with the spatula when needed.

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Spread the mixture out into an even layer on one baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes on one side. Flip over the granola and bake for about 10 minutes until it is slightly golden in coloring (you might need to adjust the cooking time slightly, I recommend check it a few times before it is done... ovens can be different and the ripeness of the bananas can change this a lot). Granola hardens up a lot once cooled. Break it up into pieces and enjoy!

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