In my constant quest to invent recipes that do not require heat, I seem to have forgotten tartines. A tartine is basically just a fancy name for an open faced sandwich. Unlike a typical sandwich, where all you see is the beige of the bread, open faced sandwiches act like a blank canvas onto which you can tumble any number of colorful fruits, veggies, and herbs.
When I lived in Norway, open faced sandwiches were a way of life. Typical Norwegian breakfast and lunch are open faced sandwiches spread with butter or mustard and topped with cheese or meat. Hearty, but not exactly plant based.
This recipe is heart healthy and plant based. The base is a rich, creamy, tangy cashew cheese, and it’s topped with ripe peaches and tomatoes. I know it’s a little fussy, but I love taking the extra 30 seconds to make my food look pretty. It adds such ceremony to a meal, and takes you out of the ordinary moment of your life into the realm of creativity and play.
After every orthodontist appointment I had growing up, I would get a gift certificate to the McDonalds two doors down for a McFlurry. But what was my preferred post-dental treat of choice? Carrot juice. Yep, carrot juice from the crunchy, kitschy vegetarian restaurant next door.
I absolutely love carrot juice and it still feels like a special treat to me. But juice can be expensive to buy, and I don’t really want to invest in a DIY juicer (I have neither the patience to clean it, nor the space to store it).
Then the other day, when my carrot juice craving struck, Eric suggested I just make it in the blender. Brilliant! This juice uses a nut-milk style method and is totally genius. Not only does it allow me to have fresh juice whenever I want, but I can customize the flavors. To this batch I added a hunk of ginger and a dash of cardamom. Holy of holies was this delicious. Smooth and creamy and sweet and spicy. And it only cost $0.89 to make.
Carrot juice for the win!
Love and Weird Hippy Treats,
P.S. Wondering what to do with the leftover pulp? Stay tuned!
There is something about waffles that just says Sunday. I can remember being young and going to the waffle station at Bravo’s Sunday Brunch. Big, fluffy Belgian Waffles would be made fresh before your eyes, and you could crown them with whipped cream and drown them with juicy strawberries.
Waffles are weekend food, because when else do you have the time to make them? Let’s be honest, they’re pretty fussy and time consuming. But if you make a giant batch on a Sunday, you can freeze your treats and simply defrost to celebrate that lazy, luxuriating weekend feeling any weekday morning.
I’m not gluten free but it’s a diet many of my loved ones are trying. I’m doing a bit of personal cheffing for one such a friend this summer (under the false pretense of helping her out- really, I’m just entertaining myself). I developed this recipe for her. It’s flour free, sugar free, gluten free, nut free, whole food, and high in omega 3 fatty acids which is perfect for her needs. They’re so simple- you just blend everything up and pour the batter directly into the waffle iron. They’re also delicious, versatile, and can be stored for weeks in the freezer.
A quick note on waffle irons: if possible, use cast iron. Most waffle makers are made with Teflon, which can release neurotoxic chemicals when heated. This is absolutely not what I want to feed my friend! I bought this waffle iron for less than $20. You do have to spritz it with oil, but I’ve had no issues with sticking and I know there is no risk of scary chemical residue.
Soak the buckwheat groats in 5 cups of water overnight.
The next morning, drain your groats and rinse until the water runs clear.
Add soaked buckwheat and all remaining ingredients to the blender.
Blend until totally smooth.
Cook the waffles according to your waffle maker's instructions. For my cast iron pan, I heat the pan over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. I generously oil both sides of the pan by brushing a neutral oil over the surface with a pastry brush. I cook the waffle on the first side for 2 1/2 minutes, flip it, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Top with your favorite toppings. I like chocolate chips, fresh berries, and pumpkin seeds.
I have a confession: I don’t really like Nutella. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, but Nutella itself is just too sugary. Plus it’s not vegan (it contains milk powder). Luckily, these truffles make a perfect dessert to unite the 98% of the world who does cartwheels over Nutella with weirdos like me who can’t stomach it’s saccharine sweetness.
They require just a few simple whole food ingredients: toasted hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder and sea salt. If you’re feeling fancy, you could throw in a little vanilla extract and a handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips for good measure. The nuts, dates, and cocoa are high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a healthy treat to share at any time of day. These are so healthy you could eat them for breakfast.
And these are perfect to share with friends of every dietary persuasion. If you or a loved one has a nut allergy, feel free to use shredded coconut (unsweetened). It will taste more tropical, and less like a French crepe, but it will still be delicious.
Whole grain is a phrase you’ll find on many packaged items. But no matter how bold and colorful the front of the label might be, you won’t know how truly whole your food is without reading the back of the label. And your best bet for truly buying whole foods is to buy items that don’t have any labels at all.
These pancakes truly use the whole grain. I like to use two grains per pancake recipe. The first is buckwheat, because it has a thick, gelatinous quality that helps the pancakes hold together beautifully. For the second grain, I use whatever is in my cupboard: brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt. Cover all the grains in water and a dash of apple cider vinegar before bed (this removes the phytic acid and increases the bioavailability of nutrients for you), blend up with a little water the next morning, and you have a truly delicious and nutritious pancake batter.
Like many recipes, this one is a canvas. The most basic recipe is just grains and water- and it’s delicious. I like to throw in flaxseeds which help the batter to bind and add a ton of nutrition in the form of omega-3 fatty acids and estrogen balancing lignans. If you want a caramelized, golden color, you need to add a little sugar. You can achieve this by blending them up with a banana (and you’ll have banana pancakes!) or a healthy drizzle of maple syrup. To balance out the sugar, it’s lovely to add a little spice. I like cinnamon, but you could just as easily throw in a pinch of cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg or clove. A heaping teaspoon of baking powder makes the batter light and fluffy.
And then there’s maca powder. You’ll notice that in the recipe I include it as an optional ingredient. I hesitated with whether to include it here, as vegan food is often criticized for being elitist and unattainably exotic. Maca is not an everyday ingredient, but I do use it in my kitchen and it gave these pancakes a delicious, malty flavor and fantastic fluffy texture. I’ll leave it up to you decide if you’d like to invest in a bag.
Maca powder is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps your body adapt to stress by balancing your hormones.This study found that not only did taking maca appear to support with balancing hormones in early post-menopausal women, but it may help to increase bone density. Maca is also a particularly great addition if you or your loved ones have adrenal fatigue, issues with your thyroid, or hormonal imbalances. How’s that for breakfast?
Adapted from Sarah Britton's Revolutionary Pancakes
1/2 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup whole grain (buckwheat, brown rice, oat groats, etc.)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
2 tablespoon flaxseeds
pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 banana OR 2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons maca powder (optional)
water or non-dairy milk, to blend
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
refined coconut oil, for frying
For serving: maple syrup, fresh berries, toasted coconut, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc.
The night before you want your pancakes, soak your whole grains by covering them in fresh water and adding 1 teaspoon of an acidic medium (vinegar or lemon juice).
The morning you want to make your pancakes, drain and rinse your soaked grains. You may notice a bit of gelatinous coating from the buckwheat. That's totally normal and safe. Just rinse it away.
Transfer your grains to a blender. Add flaxseed, salt, cinnamon, sweetener, maca powder (if using) and 1/2 cup of water. Blend on high until totally smooth.
Look at your batter. Is it too thick? If so, add a little more water about 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick, but pourable consistency is achieved.
Add baking powder and stir briefly, just to incorporate.
In a frying pan, heat a knob of coconut oil over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of batter into the pan to create a pancake. Cook until the edges look dry and brown and many bubbles have formed (about 3-4 minutes). Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan. Continue until all the batter has been used.
Serve with your desired toppings.
For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free grains.
For a whole foods, plant based diet, use the banana instead of the maple syrup.
Do you know your neighbors? I have to admit that I don’t know all my neighbors. But I will find any excuse to hang out with my upstairs neighbor, Ann.
Ann is one of the most special and unique women I’ve ever met. She is an Italian woman who grew up in Brooklyn. She has lived in my building for 43 years and has a one eyed black cat named Buddy that she walks in the hallway on a bright blue leash (“because it looks so striking with his fur”). She is effervescent, unpretentious and an absolute delight to share time and treats with.
A few months ago, we had a snow storm that just happened to land on Ann’s birthday. I was stuck home and happily enjoying my cozy hermit day off. I wanted to whip up a special treat for Ann, but I didn’t want to leave my house. That’s when I remembered a recipe I’d seen for banana brownies. I had bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and chocolate- I was set.
These brownies are ridiculously easy to make, use whole food ingredients, and are gluten-free. You basically just throw everything together in a food processor, blend and bake. 25 minutes later you have warm, gooey, chocolatey joy.
I had Ann over for an afternoon birthday brownie celebration. She loved them and I have no doubt that you will, too. Remember, food is more than food- it’s about community and connection. Make a batch and share them with your neighbors.
PubMed is my new favorite website. Since my lovely friendKaitlin was diagnosed with ALS, I have been spending a lot of time browsing through the National Library of Medicine, reading every peer-reviewed article I can find about non-drug based interventions to autoimmune disorders.
What I see echoed again and again through the pages of these articles is this: food is medicine. Whole plant foods have an incredible power to heal the body. Of course, there is no known cure for ALS. But there is a wealth of information available about cellular similarities among people with autoimmune diseases and food-based therapies that may offer meaningful interventions.
Turmeric is one of these seemingly magical, medicinal foods. It has a wonderful ability to help neutralize free radicals- those pesky extra electrons floating around which create a cascade of volatility in your body. Antioxidants, like those found in turmeric, stop oxidative stress in it’s tracks by grabbing those extra electrons. And if you eat turmeric with a dash of black pepper, it increases the bioavailability of the available nutrients, magnifying it’s impact.
As enlightening as these research articles may be, they don’t come with recipes. In reading about the health benefits of turmeric for all people, and especially those with autoimmune disorders, I wanted to come up with a delicious antioxidant power latte. This latte not only uses turmeric in it’s most bioavailable form, but it also takes advantage of the antioxidant powerhouse, the goji berry, which contains high concentrations of melatonin– a powerful antioxidant for the brain (especially wonderful for those with ALS).
This latte is medicinal and delicious. It uses a combination of medicinal herbs and whole plant foods to offer a yummy, antioxidant boost to your daily diet.
My beautiful friend Kaitlin loves cookies more than anyone else I’ve ever met. In our thrifty college, we would take cups of butter from the cafeteria back to our dorm room kitchen to whip up shortbread cookies and jam thumbprints. And every year for the past 10 years we’ve made hundreds of cookies and other sweet treats to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
For health reasons, Kaitlin is experimenting with a gluten-free diet. At first, she was reluctant. After all, food is more than food. Food is comfort and culture, familiarity and family. Sure, you can buy expensive, highly processed gluten free cookies at many grocery stores and coffee shops, but they often taste like a mere shadow of the real thing.
So I wanted to make Kaitlin the most amazing, delicious cookie imaginable that just happened to be gluten-free. I played with this recipe, modifying and tweaking it, in the hopes of creating the simplest and most delicious cookie imaginable. And it worked!
When she first tried them, her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree. These are soft, chewy, buttery, rich, chocolatey and delicious. And they happen to be vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and free of refined sugar.
In a bowl, stir together almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
Mix in maple syrup and vanilla and stir until the dough forms a sticky paste.
Fold in chopped chocolate.
Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough. Roll it between your palms to create a little dough ball, then flatten slightly. These cookies will not spread; they will be the same shape when you take them out of the oven as when you put them in.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
I love the clean slate feeling of a fresh year. I love the opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things that happened the year before and wonder, with anticipation, what new friends and new adventures the new year will bring.
And I love new years resolutions. I first became vegan because of a new years resolution. I was doing a different challenge every month for a year, and my friend Julie asked if I’d like to go vegan with her for a month. It sounded fun, so I figured I’d give it a try. And that was the starting point of this beautiful adventure.
Many people use new years resolutions to set unrealistic goals and then self flagellate when they don’t achieve them. I really see no point in this. You have this blank page of a year- why muddy it with your own self loathing? If you want to set a new years resolution at all, think about something you are curious about. What would it look like to start exploring it? What would be the first step? Start there and see where the journey takes you.
This Avocado Shake is something I’d forgotten about until recently. I was flipping through images from early drafts of my cookbook (another new years resolution project). This shake didn’t end up making the final cut, but it’s the perfect type of new years recipe: healthy, fast, easy.
It may sound strange, but I promise you it isn’t. It’s actually a very common Brazilian recipe. Brazilians blend avocados with milk and sugar; I blend them with coconut milk and a little agave or coconut nectar. This is a great recipe to make the morning after a long, indulgent night. Avocados make the shake thick and creamy, while adding lots of fiber, vitamin k and vitamin e. Coconut adds lots of medium chain triglycerides and a tropical flavor.
It’s a perfect recipe, no matter what diet you’re on. Though it is an especially great recipe for my loved ones who are managing their neurological diseases through diets rich in veggies and coconut!
This makes quite a thick shake. But the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust any ingredient to suit your preferences. If you like it thinner, add more coconut milk. If you like it sweeter, add some ripe banana, one medjool date, or a little extra coconut nectar. If you want to add some extra veggies, through in a handful of spinach- it will yield a bright green color. Enjoy!
1 ripe avocado, pitted
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
handful of ice
1/2 tablespoon agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup (optional)
Blend all ingredients until totally smooth.
For a paleo diet: use coconut nectar.
For a whole foods plant based diet: replace the liquid sweetener with a medjool date or 1/2 ripe banana.
For a raw foods diet: use the meat and water from one young coconut.
Weddings are the only times I find it challenging to eat vegan, but brunch can be pretty uninspiring. Brunch menus are full of eggs, bacon, and sausage. Even pancakes and crepes tend to be filled with eggs and milk. Of course, there’s always something to get- a fruit plate, bagel with peanut butter, or toast and jam- but most brunch spots are lacking in innovative, plant based options.
Savory oatmeal is an innovative, hearty and satisfying brunch option that I love to make at home. The base is simple: rolled oats, white miso, and coconut milk. You could use whatever miso you like, but I like using a mellow white miso as it is the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and savory.
Now that you have your porridge canvas, options are endless. This is a particularly forgiving base for leftovers. I topped mine with a handful of walnuts, leftover sauteed mushrooms, and chives. But you could easily toss in some sauteed greens, leftover roasted vegetables, sliced radishes. Whatever you have on hand, and whatever you crave, is perfect.