Yesterday it was abnormally cloudy, windy, and cool - enough so that we were still wearing sweatpants and long sleeves at 11am! That has never happened in our more than three years on this island.
Anyway, it was optimal weather for finally truly relaxing and doing nothing for the first time in weeks! We spent the morning sipping tea and Morning Magic Milk, reading books, and cleaning up a little here and there while dancing. We even took a family nap like 3 spoons, for which almost-3-year-old Ollie willing climbed into my arms and simply fell asleep for the FIRST. TIME. EVER. (For real, this kid does not like to sleep.).
And then, we were hungry, and as tempting as going out to eat for lunch was, nothing sounded better than pumpkin soup. This is a simple recipe, made even simpler with a handheld immersion blender (but a regular blender will do.) It was inspired by and only adapted slightly from the Minimalist Baker's recipe. I love her so much.
Overnight oats recipes are everywhere these days - they're easy to make, ready-t0-go in the morning, and you can pack them with as much nutrition as you want to. It's a forgiving recipe, meaning you can play with measurements, and you can change it up when you get bored - changing the fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices you add - but this is the combination that our family loves the best! In fact my 2.5 year old has been eating this recipe almost every day since he was 9 months old, along with my husband. I, on the other hand, don't always want oats when I wake up, so I'll put a scoop of the oats in the blender and make a smoothie.
This feeds us for 3 breakfasts, and 3 days is about it's shelf life in the refrigerator, so don't plan on storing it for longer than that. Either my husband or I make this every 3 days. (Once you get used to it, it can literally take 3 minutes!)
Ingredients for Oats:
3 cups oats: they can be whatever you prefer - steel cut or rolled
With only three ingredients and two steps, I wouldn't really call this a "recipe." It's more of a quick, delicious way to satisfy a chocolate craving. Rolling these dark chocolate bites in coconut and putting them in the freezer makes them even better, in my opinion!
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dates
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (1oo% cacao)
unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
I usually double or triple this recipe but if you just want something quick, you can start with these portions.
1 .Mix all ingredients in a food processor. A high-powered blender like a Vitamix works as well, but it's easier to remove the mixture from a food processor.
2. Check to see if mixture is moldable, to see if it will stay in a ball shape. (This will depend on the moistness of the dates you use.) If not, add up to 1/2 cup of water little by little with the food processor running.
3. Once mixture is malleable, roll into balls and eat! I sometimes roll them in...
This salad is a frequent flier with us. It's stellar as a side salad - I like to make a big batch of it and eat it over a few days with whatever else we're eating - but it's also hearty enough to take the main stage for lunch or dinner, especially when served with tofu.
Although you only need 1 cup of peanut sauce for this salad, I always make 4 cups at a time because it keeps well in a glass jar in the fridge. You can use this sauce for this same salad in the future, on other salads, or as a veggie dip for adults and kids alike. Our 20-month-old son likes it mixed in with his quinoa and uses it as a dip for veggies like carrots and spinach leaves. Thank you to the good people over at ambitiouskitchen.com for the recipe!
This is a really quick post to share a really quick way to add variety and texture to your daily meals. Like many plant foods, lentils offer different nutrients when they're raw as compared to when they are cooked. Cooked lentils are our main source of sustenance in this house, but we eat these raw sprouted lentils a few times a week, too. You can add them to salads, sandwiches, and soups - they're extremely versatile.
1. Add 1/2 cup of lentils to a quart-sized jar, then fill jar with water until about three-quarters full.
2. Cover with a sprouting lid, or if you prefer, some cheesecloth. I use the sprouting lids found here.
3. Soak lentils for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
4. Drain water from jar by simply pouring water out through the lid (or the cheesecloth). Rinse the lentils by removing the lid to fill the jar with new water and immediately draining, repeating several times.
5. Repeat rinsing and draining 2-3 times a day, until sprout tails...
This past Saturday we went up to Aguadilla to check out the Festival de aguacate (Avocado Festival) and to just get out of town for the morning. Other than the stagnant heat, what was immediately noticeable was the fact that the majority of the market stands were run by women: women selling food that they grow, women selling food that they make, women giving cooking classes, and women educating kids about plant foods.
We had purposefully arrived hungry and went straight to the brand new IslaPops EATS food truck! Yaribeth Rios started her delicious popsicle company, IslaPops, in 2013, but I was DELIGHTED to find out that this month she's expanded and her delicious, nutritious, on-the-go options now include frozen bananas and salads - LOTS of salads.
We wanted to sample the long list of options, so we ordered four small salads (for $4 each): a sweet Asian slaw salad, a pear walnut cranberry salad, a garden veggie...
Today as I excitedly showed Oliver the new tomatoes starting to come in, I quickly realized he too was going to be excited, meaning he might want to pick them. I am thrilled that he likes tomatoes, and I love that he was excited about food growing on our patio, but I also want to end up with some ripe tomatoes!
The theme of enjoying something while letting it be has come up often since my son turned one, and I'm sure it's pretty universal. In fact the saying "I could just eat him/her!" - as people in many different cultures like to say to babies - reflects our human desire to actually consume things we love. But we all know there's a balance to be made between loving people gently and smothering them.
Oliver first learned to love gently - and not to smother - with our feral-turned-pet cat, Benito. This cat amazingly let Oliver pet him and touch him while he was eating, but eventually Oliver's affections...
These burgers from the Oh She Glows cookbook are a go-to lunch staple for us, and can be made with lentils or garbanzo beans as well. I love how colorful and full of life they are. We usually eat them over a salad, but I have crumbled them up as taco filler as well!
I like to make things in big batches. This makes 16 smallish burgers. Sometimes I double the recipe :)
2 cans (15 oz each) rinsed black beans
2 cups grated carrots (some food processors come with a shredding attachment)
1.5 cups rolled oats, processed into a flour (I use a vitamix blender for this)
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup spelt bread crumbs (optional, I use ShaSha Co.)
In addition to supporting our fellow community members, one of the reasons I prioritize shopping locally is that it often exposes you to new foods. I've found that even after living somewhere awhile, secret little gems tend to pop up into your world when you least expect them, when you think you've already learned everything there is to learn about local, seasonal produce. Sometimes, a plant just has a really short season, and sometimes, you just haven't been in the right place at the right time with an open mindset, yet. During my last week of a summer spent in Ecuador, I was served heavenly gatabatayuyu- steamed curly baby fern leaves - and I was like "Where has this been all summer??" In Senegal it took me a good 6 months before stumbling upon some women selling purple hibiscus juice, which made for an incredible cocktail and was quickly added to our weekly shopping list. I see these little surprises as rewards for presence, patience, and pay...
Color is pretty important to me when it comes to eating. It's not like I plan it out, but I strive to make sure every time we sit down to eat our plates are bright with a variety of color.
By now most of us have probably heard that the North American diet is overrun with white, colorless starchy foods. But some of those foods, like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice, are still really good for us. Keeping color in mind can help balance these white foods with fruits and vegetables that make your meal both beautiful and full of a variety of nutrients.
Oatmeal has been Oliver's favorite breakfast every since he first ate it, and I've learned a few ways to not only make our oatmeal different colors, but also to make fruit such as berries easier to digest for baby tummies. (Now he can process whole blueberries but until he was about 14 months old, they would come out whole in his diaper. What a waste of nutrients!) Although I no longer need to blend the berries before mixing them...