Field Notes

10 . 22 . 13

Autumn. FINALLY. My bones have ached for this season. I do believe the leaves on the trees that line our street now match the hues of my heart, and for a few brief, palpable moments over the past few days, I’ve been reminded that I belong in this human skin, this temporal world.

Offline life owns any and all coherent bits of my lexicon right now, so today I give you a film, doughnuts from Ashley’s super fun new cookbook, and a few notes from the field, as follows: 

(1) Tell people you love them while they can still hear you (2) Get over yourself. Self-consciousness robs us of being fully present to others (3) Pay attention and everyone is the guru — especially the 6 year old boy next door (4) Celebrate the people who keep you company. Thank them, daily, for their grace, patience, and wisdom (5) Beautiful things don’t just happen, you make them happen. Work hard. Keep your chin up (6) We belong to the earth. Lie in the leaves on the ground and pray like hell you’ll learn how to burst and bless and move on like they do (7) Change your toothbrush more often and buy new underwear. It’s the little things (8) “Nobody looks stupid when they’re having fun” – Amy Poehler  (9) Date pits do not go in the garbage disposal (10) Sparklers in place of birthday candles make a mess, but are always a good idea. 

Gluten-Free Apple Fritter Doughnuts 

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • 6 tbsp almond meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 4 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peeled, diced honeycrisp apples
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon for coating
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350.’ Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together liquid ingredients and eggs. Pour wet mixture into the dry and stir gently with a wooden spoon until just combined and there are no more flour streaks. Fold in the diced apples gently.

Spoon batter into standard doughnut molds, before the top of the basin. As you can see in the video, I struggled with this. If they look wonky and overflowing they still turn out good, I promise. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden brown around the edges. Let cool before tackling the cinnamon sugar coating.

Ashley’s instructions for the fritter effect are for stoves with a broiler situated at the top of the oven, mine are for a lower oven/drawer-style broiler and instructions are shared accordingly. In an assembly line, place bowl of melted oil/butter in the middle between the cooled rack of donuts and a bowl of cinnamon sugar mixture. Dip tops of baked and cooled doughnuts in the oil/butter for a millisecond, then roll around in the sugar mix. Place on a baking sheet, cast iron pan, or sheet of tin foil beneath the broiler to caramelize the sugar for 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn. Repeat until doughnuts are coated. Serve warm.

** Leave a comment with your field notes of late and I’ll pick one winner to receive a copy of Baked Doughnuts for Everyone by October 29, 2013. Winner will be announced on facebook and via email! Cheers!

Camp Cobbler

06 . 11 . 13

 

“If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world. Which then appears to be other than you, separate from you, rather from the living continuum to which you belong.” — Eve Ensler 

This theme, that of the body and women, and our constant attempts to correct or control what is lacking of our physical selves and in our lives has come up in too many conversations lately. With dear friends, young and old, wise our chats have led to, among many things, some variation of the question: why, when everything feels out of control, do we sometimes turn on our bodies? In some last ditch effort to keep things together, we, women, often become these punishing, masterful tyrants, who live secretly in the shadows of our self-consciousness and inadequacy and restrict and pinch and squeeze and shudder at all that our bodies lack. In the name of health, deprive ourselves of the joy  we deserve and mask the deep disequilibrium in the vessel we inhabit. As Eve says, we are then divided. Our bodies become an object to fix, and then too does the world. The world is not an object. Your body is not an object.

I read something in an Oprah Magazine on a flight home from college a few years ago that still haunts me. There was this featurette on women in their 60′s and 70′s espousing the joys of finally coming into their own skin in their later decades. It featured a photo series of women, beautiful, eyes closed, laughing, wind blowing in their wavy grey hair. They all looked so happy, genuinely, finally, happy. I was happy for them, too. I also felt like I was going to throw up. The idea that I, and all women my age, might spend the next 40 years of our lives unhappy with and at war against our bodies was terrifying. I tore out the pages of the spread and stuffed them in a textbook tucked in the seat-back pouch, closed my eyes and thought, “I don’t want to wait that long… I can’t wait that long” What if I don’t even get that long? I mean, how dare I waste this time? No way, no how. Self-love is not a rite of passage,not  something we are entitled to only after years of suffering.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with all of this, but I’m not trying to stand on a soap box to convince you to love your body — there are women leading that call-to-action with much greater poeticism and punch than I ever could. Of course, if I were sitting on the back porch with you tomorrow night, I’d promise you and plead, with deep conviction and sincerity, that you are the most powerful and beautiful creature on the planet. Yet I do want to tell you one thing: go outside. Get out in the sunshine and warm air and away from the noise of the city and your routine and let your limbs take you places and show you parts of the earth and the living continuum to which you belong. The closer you get to nature, the harder it will be to hate your body. You belong to these places. They will remind you of your goodness and beauty and strength that you may have forgotten lives in you. It takes nearly four hours to summit 3,800 feet of a mountain like one we filmed above. As the altitude increases, our pace tempers and at each pause for oxygen, I stand filled with so much gratitude for what my body is, for what it does, for how hard it works to bring me to these places. Here, in the wildest parts of the earth, I know in my heart I lack nothing. Every maddening, dark thought or ill will I have felt towards myself in the past is dismissed and deep love and care fills the vacuum it left behind. You may not need to climb to 14,000 feet to find this peace. Maybe you’d like to learn to hula hoop, swim backstroke in a lake, train for a 5k fun run. I don’t care. Something. Move. Breathe. Look out and look in. Watch how much your body allows you to do and feel. Give thanks. Be kind. Let’s not wait until we’re 70 to feel good about the vessel we landed to change the world from. There is freedom in appreciation given.

Kelsey Brown & Mt. Huron

Camp Cobbler 

Adapted from Nicole Spiridakis, for NPR Kitchen Window

Folks, this is killer. For what this cobbler lacks in beauty it makes up ten-fold in taste, especially after a full day on the move. Not much mise en place when it comes to camp cooking, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Any summer fruit combination will do. I had strawberries and rhubarb on hand for this trip. I imagine peaches, plums, cherries, or blackberries will be fantastic as they come into season this summer.

Filling

  • 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 stalks rhubarb, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar

 

Pastry

  • 3 cups flour (I used pastry)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups buttermilk

 

At home: Mix together the dry ingredients, except sugar, and place in a bag or tupperware. Pack sugar separately. Measure out the buttermilk and transfer to a small container.

In camp: Set up the fire and place a grill about 4 inches above the flame. If you forget a grate (oops) create a rock formation to protect the iron from direct flame. Cut the fruit into chunks and toss with the sugar. Add the fruit to a heavy, cast-iron 5-quart Dutch oven or a deep cast-iron skillet.

For the biscuits, place the pre-mixed dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in the buttermilk, just until the batter comes together.

Drop dollops of the dough in an even layer over the fruit. Cover the Dutch oven and put the cobbler over the fire pit. Cook until the biscuits are cooked all the way through, about 30 minutes.

With Joy

08 . 28 . 12

An immediacy of regret ricocheted off of every hard surface in the house last week after we accidently clicked “publish” instead of “preview” for the eggplant stack post. An (extremely) rough draft of bubbling thoughts suddenly live, sent to 3000+ inboxes around the world. My heart sank. I wanted to chase after every visitor and beg, “Hey, wait! That’s not what I meant to say!” After reading your kind comments and emails I felt the need to briefly clarify, for my own sake, that I have no desire to leave this space. I have dedicated so much of my soul and time to this adventure with the explicit purpose of reaching, teaching, learning, and growing into the world. Growing into myself. Sharing stories and semblances of a journey to honor the one we each take, individually, every day and the one we share together as human beings. My “lingering concern,” as I so phrased it, about what Happyolks provides is more a matter of how I can use it better. How can I take this utility, this vessel, and infuse it with more light, deeper purpose, and greater authenticity. That is my work. And, I will very much keep working.

But, let’s move on. What I really want to talk about today is Mudita. Have you heard the term before? Mudita is sanskrit for the Buddhist vision of joy, more specifically sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy, or appreciative joy as it’s also translated, is the pleasure and happiness experienced in delighting in other people’s well-being and good fortune. When you genuinely feel gladness for anothers success, the cultivated energy will uplift your own spirit and change the way you live and experience the world. My levels of sympathetic joy have been through the freaking roof lately. Friends and family are starting careers, opening new chapters, changing course, tackling big projects, getting married, having children. My heart feels so swollen with love and eagerness for these folks. The Mudita, sympathetic joy, I have cultivated in witnessing their lives and their passages has elevated my days in more ways than I could possibly describe.

Within this beautiful mess of joy, The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook. The culmination of years of hard work and soul-stretching has brought the world another beautiful artifact of love and passion. I am inspired. I am captivated. I am overwhelmed with happiness for this enormous success. You did it, Sara and Hugh. You really did it. Here’s our gathering, a gathering you both helped make. It is one instance, one night, where the world became a little better because of your grace and dedication. Congratulations, friends. Enjoy the ride! Recipes from film:

Sweet Corn Ceviche

Papaya and Red Quinoa Salad with Mexican Caesar Dressing

Chipotle and Apple Turkey Burgers

*** Music: Old Mythologies by The Barr Brothers. Purchase album here.

** Cookbook giveaway ran 8/28 – 9/7 and is now closed, thank you for all your kind comments. 

To Be Free

06 . 20 . 12

We’re here now. With roof, and kitchen. Community. Plans for a garden. It is a wonder to me now that we resisted the temptation to carry on as gypsies forever. The further we let ourselves drift away from the clutter and noise of reality, the more absurd the conventions of our lives always seem to appear. The open road and an empty agenda make few demands of a person – curiousity, patience, willingness, a sense of humor, maybe a toothbrush. Tall grasses, mountains, and the wind gently whisper permission to step out from the rigid set of ideas, requirements, expectations we’ve set for ourselves and make space for new truths and new understandings of what our purpose is on this planet.

It’s easy to romanticize the freedom of it all – no sense of time, place, before, or after. And it’s important. To leave, to get away, to lose oneself to it all. But I think it’s also important to come back. There is an even more profound freedom to be experienced when we recognize that we have the power to create that same sense of adventure, inhibition, and joy in our daily lives. That is my intention. To let myself be free everyday. Wherever I am, wherever I go, wherever I don’t.

Thank you for your love, kindness, and support over the past month as we’ve meandered to our new resting place here in Colorado. Cheers to the next chapter.

* Open fire scramble technique borrowed from “Cooking in the Moment” by Andrea Reusing.
* *  Video shot in our favorite parts of Alaska. For more behind the scenes action on our Alaska visit, see here

Onward

04 . 15 . 12

The rope that tethers me to this place, this time, is growing thinner with each day approaching the big move (42, who’s counting).  Things feel different, everywhere. My running route, the struggle to find parking on campus, our favorite restaurants, the farmers market, even the beach. It’s as if my mind has begun the emotional preparations for a new normal by disassociating from the old. More frequently now I find myself caught in the ordinary moments with a feeling of being there, but not really there in the ways I once was.

I drive through parts of town and see the places I lost myself, the places I really found myself.  I see Shaun and I, younger, and the memories made in our relentless itch for growth and exploration. Everywhere there is a cacophony of light and dark, joy and pain, laughter and tears. It feels sorta supernatural. Hard to describe.

Standing at the edge of the shore this morning, I looked up to the clouds barreling across the sky after the good storm we had the past few days and felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude for the time, for the place — for all that it gave, for all that it took away. Four years have come and gone. I’m a different person now. I hope a better one. And it’s time. Time to let new faces and new seasons to teach me more about myself, more about the world.

The strawberries will be missed, California. But I’m so ready for new adventures.

Strawberry Basil Scones 
 
  • 2 ½ cups flour (I used a GF blend)
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 
tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ 
tsp salt
  • ½ cup cold coconut oil or butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 + cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 2
 tbsp minced basil
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 
eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Scoop out or cut in butter or coconut oil. Stir in minced basil and hulled, and quartered strawberries. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the milk. (Cream, half and half, or regular milk would work here too.) Add egg mixture to flour mixture in one pour. Stir together until completely moistened, using your hands when necessary.

Turn out onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Press into a 1” thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with sugar. If you use butter instead of coconut oil, place baking sheet with cut wedges in the freezer for up to 20 minutes before baking. It will make them magically fluffier and more scone-y. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending. Finish with a good dollop of local honey or clotted cream.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.