Last weekend we went apple picking upstate, sharing a house with three other couples and their toddlers. It was one of those trips I’ll look back on fondly, recalling the cute kiddos chasing after each other and biting into just-picked apples, savoring still-warm apple cider donuts, and eating s’mores and playing board games with some of my favorite people after the kids went to sleep. Meanwhile, the memories of rain, toddler meltdowns, and failed meals resulting in decent-at-best takeout pizza will fade without making the long-term memory cut.
Getting out of the city was a good reminder to invest in experiences. It’s one of those things I’ve known for a long while but, especially now with two little ones in tow, have to make a real effort to put into action and reinforce. With no trips planned again until the end of the year, I think it’s time to plan a party!
And since eating is an experience, here are some more ways to up your happiness:
I don’t think you need to be vegan to drool over this butternut queso. And now I want nachos.
If I’m feeling more adventurous than buckwheat granola, I will definitely try this superfood granola and will totally make the homemade macadamia milk to go with it.
No-churn coffee ice cream! With circus animal cookie crumbs!
Pairing hummus with shakshuka is genius.
If the words pumpkin chai latte don’t tempt you enough, how about clove caramel and maple whipped cream? And speaking of lattes, this spicy chocolate latte also sounds amazing.
Coolest lattice top, ever.
I love everything matcha but these mini brownies with matcha glaze are near the top of the list.
On a recent park outing a friend was telling me about 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, authored by (among other descriptors, of course) a mother to young children. We discussed how the art you create when you have only small, unreliable chunks of time available to you differs from that of when your imagination has all the time in the world to wander. Since our talk in the park, I’ve been thinking about how my life more generally has altered in response to baby and toddler rhythms.
Because I’m starting to feel a little like a crazy person, and not for lacking of taking care of myself. I shower (almost) daily, eat well, and even practice a requisite ten minutes of yoga each evening before bed. I think it’s these blips of availability – minutes here and there to work or clean or read – that are slowly grating on my sanity. Even when all the things that need to get accomplished, do, it has a different feel than when they are done in an organized manner. A workout paused no less than four times doesn’t reap the same rewards as thirty minutes of uninterrupted sweat. A blog post written piecemeal has a different feel than one mulled over during a generous block of time.
I’m not complaining, just observing. I’m always doing this sort of assessing so I can fiddle with my approach and make things even better. Because this life I have is so, so good. Those in-between-work-getting-done moments are filled with gummy smiles and deep toddler thoughts, both I never appreciated before and now for which I have fallen head over heals.
As much as I love a leisurely breakfast and hoped that would be one of the perks of working from home, they are now reserved for the weekends. Ben and I have both been taking advantage of make-ahead items for our first meal of the day, including baked oatmeal, frozen egg burritos, and granola. We both loved My New Roots’ chunky chocolate buckwheat granola maybe a little too much, since the 8-cup recipe doesn’t seem to last us more than a couple days.
I made a cinnamon version I like just as much as the original, although it is less decadent due both to the change in flavors and a reduction in sugar. It also doesn’t clump as well, either because of the omission of coconut sugar or chia seeds (which mostly seemed to shrivel and fall to the bottom of the jar), but that didn’t bother us. I also switched the oat to buckwheat ratio in favor of the latter. Buckwheat has a hearty flavor that pairs well with other strong flavors, so the sweet warmth of ground cinnamon is a capable replacement for chocolate (if ever there was one). It smells like cinnamon buns while it bakes and the resulting granola is mildly sweet, surprisingly light, and perfectly filling. I like to eat it with yogurt, milk, or even ricotta, with or without fresh fruit.
Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola
adapted from My New Roots
3 c buckwheat groats
1 c rolled oats
1 1/2 c coconut flakes (also called coconut chips)
1 c sliced almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c coconut oil
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the buckwheat, oats, coconut, almonds, and salt.
Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the buckwheat mixture and stir to evenly coat. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet or baking dish and bake 30 minutes, stirring about every ten minutes.
two posts in before I started summarizing freelance articles and subsequently creating original content for this space sporadically at best. I’d like to change directions, so I’m planning to experiment with what I write here, of course always coming back to recipes (punctuated with food, as in life).
I still want to keep you updated on what I’m posting elsewhere, so once a month I’ll be posting a list and brief descriptions of my work on other websites. From time to time I might pop in with a freelance update outside of that, especially if something really juicy comes up. To get started, here are some of the articles I never got around to recapping last month:
I made quinoa-stuffed peppers for Recipe.com…and remembered why I never make stuffed peppers. I’m not sure the presentation is worth the tediousness of trying to coax tiny, sticky grains to fit tidily into bell peppers, but the recipe is still worth a look because the flavors were spot on.
Also for Recipe.com I made baked fruit and nut energy bars that got me excited about homemade snacks bars They were easy to make, despite having a lot going on in the ingredients department, and I loved the change up from the raw fruit and nut bars people seem to make most often, particularly with respect to the texture. I also got to learn what kamut is.
This no-churn fig frozen yogurt for Hellobee is a healthy, 3-ingredient treat inspired by a similar dessert my aunt makes using figs from her yard. If you haven’t already branched out from banana soft serve, this is a good place to start.
These fall roasted vegetable recipes for SheKnows were fun to put together, because roasting vegetables is an almost-daily event in our household that we like to keep seasonal and interesting. Head on over to find out how I pump extra flavor into beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes this time of year.
I’m not even kidding when I write this Asian-inspired roast chicken is probably the best roasted chicken I’ve ever made. The savory flavors of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, fresh ginger and garlic made for a salty, umami kick, while a squeeze of honey added a sticky, subtle sweetness that had me licking my fingers between greedy bites.
I finished out September with a recipe for freezer-friendly spinach and feta breakfast burritos for The Kitchn. It’s a ridiculously simple, five-ingredient recipe but what I want you to take away is really some motivation to pull together a similar make-ahead breakfast. I love overnight or (this time of the year) baked oats but keep in mind a burrito stuffed with morning fare can keep your grab-and-go breakfast options diverse.
That’s all for now…see you later this week with a recipe for a different kind of granola + a recap of our trip upstate.