I am in constant awe of your timing and how you always seem to bring people into (and out of) my life with such explicit purpose. I feel moved and changed and inspired by so many souls in ways that I cannot yet put into words. Thank you.
That’s all for now.
Banana Hemp Granola
3-4 ish cups thick-cut, old-fashioned oats
1 cup hemp seeds
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup grade b maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Here’s a quick and dirty way to make ultra-clumpy granola: stand mixer. I discovered the technique on a rushed morning while juggling fifteen balls before for a camping trip to the mountains. Mix together all wet ingredients and bananas until you get a thick, chunky liquid. Add oats and let the machine run on medium-high for a few minutes before adding the hemp seeds. Scrape the sides as needed until everything is well-coated and clumping.
Turn out and spread granola onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400′ F. Check at around 20 minutes and turn over with a spatula or wooden spoon to evenly brown everything up. Let cool for 30 minutes before storing. We enjoyed it camping fireside with greek yogurt the next day.
The first few days after we say goodbye to a foster are a little funk. The house feels different. I would even call it melancholy if not for the memory of that one moment where the new family waves goodbye with the dog in their arms, new loving arms. There are few other smiles more sincere I’ve seen that that moment. It zaps the emptiness in the kitchen immediately. I grind the coffee, I prepare the kettle, and I think of how different, how much richer the new family’s story will be with their new canine friend.
People often tell me that they could never foster dogs because they’d want to keep them all. I’ll admit it’s tough. Shaun and I sat in silence for a bit when we drove away from Tex’s new house on Thursday. Wind from the open windows held back tears. We held hands and smiled. For what was, what all will be. My heart was so, so full. Honestly, I felt like it would burst. Words needn’t be spoken. It was a perfect silence. Joy filled the car knowing that everything was just as it should be.
Each dog over the past year has given us a chance to practice love, patience, flexibility and prepares us, ultimately, for the inevitablity of goodbyes that the future will always hold. The whole process requires an accountability to truly live in the present. The dogs, just like most other people and things, come into our lives without much warning and we never really know how long they’ll stay. It encouarges us to let go of expectation, give all of our love with all of our hearts, stop holding back, and make everyday a new adventure because you don’t know how long you’ll have together. It’s amazing how a little creature that has such limited means of communicating can deliver such a profound lesson on life, on life and time.
Here today, gone tomorrow. Fostering teaches how to absorb the waves of change instead of letting them knock us on our toosh. Nothing stays the same for long. Nothing lasts forever. The good stuff, the not so good stuff — it all comes and goes, as it should.
Thanks Tex. You and each of your friends that came before you have loosened us up a bit for the big changes, the big excitements, and the big disappointments we’re destined for in the future. We’re better equipped to handle the waves because of you.
Braised Bok Choy Noodle Bowl
1 lb baby bok choy
1/2 lb shitake mushrooms
1 cup green onion, chopped
1-2 packages 100% Buckwheat noodles
1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
thumb sized nub of ginger, grated
1 lemon + 2 limes
2 tbsp white or rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Start with the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to boil with a bit of oil to keep noodles from sticking. Buckwheat cooks in 8 minutes so keep a close watch and remove from heat and rinse immediately. Set aside while you prepare the veg.
Remove the bottoms of the bok choy and place leaves in a bowl of cool water to let the dirt and bits fall to the bottom. Bring a heavy pan (or wok, if you have one) to heat with 2-3 tbsps of coconut oil, 1 tbsp of sesame oil, and the garlic and ginger. Simmer to brown the garlic then add the damp bok choy leaves and braise in the oil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set greens in a small bowl. There should still be a bit of oil in the pan for the mushrooms. Slice them into 1/4″ slices and sauté for 2-4 minutes, depending how hot the pan is. Remove ‘shrooms and set with the bok choy.
Add a bit more coconut and sesame oil back to the pan with the juice of one lemon and vinegar and let simmer. Add the dried and cooled noodles until coated and warmed. Assemble the bowl with noodles as a base, layering the mushrooms and boy choy on top. Sprinkle with salt, a bit of lime juice, and the fresh green onion.
In my hometown, Summer didn’t start until Alice’s Fruit Stand opened. Trips to Alice’s on dry, hot California days with my Mom are among the highlights of my childhood food memories. Located just outside of town down a gravel road near the high school, a little white stand with a red roof and a giant orange peach atop was home to fresh from the garden summer produce.
I remember the dirty ceiling fans and the misters spewing sticky warm water across the foyer; I remember how the counters were littered with crates of cherries, apricots, heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, and Alice’s infamous loaves of zucchini bread. We never left without ambrosia melon, and pounds upon pounds of summer sqaush, despite the fact that we had it coming out of our ears at home.
The woman who owned Alice’s (her name was not, surprisingly, Alice) and grew all of the produce nearby was warm, soft, and full of love and light. Wispy gray strands of hair escaped her braid matching her no-fuss, minimalist personality. Her hugs smelled like butter, and her enthusiasm kept people coming back summer after summer. She kept a wicker basket of recipe cards near the cashbox, and as customers paid for their produce she would encourage her renditions for whatever we happened to be buying.
Nobody left Alice’s without the Zucchini Cobbler pitch. Vegetables for dessert are a hard sell for most people, let alone an eight-year-old like me. “Trust me,” she’d say, “It tastes just like apple cobbler, and you won’t even know the difference.”
My mom had faith. She always has faith. With some added pressure to alleviate the stockpile of summer squash, we peeled, we chopped, and “cobbler-ed” our zucchini, just as Alice’s had ordered. The result? Perfection. The little card for this recipe remains a keepsake in my Mom’s recipe books.
I’ve given the original recipe a bit of a makeover with edits to the fat, amount of sugar, and grains. In short, Alice’s version is basically a 1:1:1 ratio of butter, flour, and zucchini. It was good, but… oh boy.
12 cups zucchini, peeled and chopped into quarters
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup brown rice syrup (or raw sugar)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups of gluten free oats, ground to a course flour in a food processor (or organic bakers flour)
¾ cup raw sugar
1 cup raw coconut oil (or cold butter)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375’. In large saucepan over medium heat, cook chopped zucchini in the lemon juice for 10-15 minutes. Add brown rice syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and simmer for 1 minute longer.
For the crust: combine oats and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the oats become coarse flour. Pour into a large bowl, and stir in cinnamon. If you’re using coconut, crumble the oil and oat mixture with your hands. If you’re using butter, cut in until mixture resembles course crumbs.
Stir in 1/2 cup of crust into the zucchini mixture. Press 1/2 of remaining crust mixture into greased baking pan, spread zucchini over top, and crumble crust to just cover the zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 35 minutes. Enjoy à la mode fresh from the oven, or allow to cool and fridge it for at least an hour. When I was a kid I loved it cold, and turns out I still do.