Tag Archive: Coconut

  1. Answer It

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    I stood there, in the cold of the morning, hunched over the kitchen sink with my hands gripping the counters ledge watching the leaves fall and collect on the deck. Trying to count my breaths, I silently beg each one to play it’s reverse card and go back to the tree, the life-force, that created it earlier in the spring. They do not stop. With each yellow sliver that drops, I feel myself being pulled down to the ground with them. Pieces of my heart and understanding lay there, wilting, disentigrating back to the earth. I wished for Autumn all summer long — for it’s first snow, cold sheets, fires in the living room. Now that it’s here, I’m not sure I’m ready to dig through the “basement” for all that needs supporting it. Things have settled, and suddenly the stillness I asked for has arrived with a pretty bow and a painful but necessary awareness to all that has really taken place from January to October.

    I’ve highlighted and bookmarked Tiny Beautiful Things to shreds during this phase. Is it a phase? Can we call it that when it hasn’t yet passed? Anyway, Cheryl Strayed’s words are both comfort and a total slap in the face right now. In one particular letter, a young woman writes to Cheryl asking “WTF, WTF, WTF?” She responds in sharing the bone chilling history of sexual abuse from her father’s father and how she came to realize that pressing against the wound, tackling it straight on, was the only way to get a grip on her life. She ends her response to the young woman, “Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.”

    I share this passage not because I stood there staring at the leaves thinking, like the young woman who wrote Cheryl, “WTF, WTF, WTF.” But I realize that the leaves falling is my life. I need to answer it. Simple as that. I need to ask better questions about the why. Ask questions that shed light on what needs adjusting. So you’re feeling like “x” you’re acting like “y” and it’s causing a sour, hollow feeling in your gut. It’s not WTF. It’s your life. Dig deeper. Lean in. Throw yourself down the basement stairs and scavenge for as much as you can. You’re going to need all of it, everything you got, to make it to winter. 

    Thai Carrot Soup

    • 3 sweet onions
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 2 tsp grated ginger
    • 2 tsp red chili flakes
    • 3 spoonfuls coconut oil
    • 2 tbsp cumin
    • dash of nutmeg
    • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
    • 1.5 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
    • 1 can full fat coconut milk
    • 5-6 cups chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tsp salt
    • 4-5 thai chiles, de-seeded
    • handful fresh basil
    • 3 limes, juiced

    In a large pot or dutch oven, saute roughly chopped onions with grated garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and coconut oil until softened but not terribly browned. Add apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pot. Add cumin, nutmeg, lemongrass, and carrots. Stir to coat. Add coconut milk and the broth. Combine. Simmer on low with a lid for 30-40 minutes or until the carrots are completely softened.

    Pour contents of pot into a high-powered blender in small batches with the fresh thai chiles. Blend until completely pureed. Add water or stock to adjust the thickness. Pour into individual bowls and top with juice of fresh lime and chopped basil.

  2. Onward

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    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.

  3. Here and There, Surprises

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    You’re probably thinking, didn’t we just see a new post from this girl? Yes. Two posts in one week. They say the busier you get the more you get done, right? We created this video to help Megan at The Fresh Exchange celebrate the surprise announcement of her new creative venture (today! see more here).  Megan is awesome — someone I would like to call friend in real life sometime soon, she’s a young seeker too.

    As I’ve shared in our “contact” drop down, before starting this blog I was admittedly anti social-media. People need people, not computers. Nothing replaces real human connection and relationships, but I’ve learned over the past year that social networks, blogs, and digital media actually do bring people closer together. This space has served as reinforcement to my fundamental belief that we are not alone; there are thousands of people who share similar passions, interests, and goals. Together, we can be better, do better, and inspire new ideas and new ways to look at the world.

    If you’re a creative, blogger, or just looking for new friends, hop on over to The Fresh Exchange  for a bit of inspiration and the recipe to these sweet and spicy macaroons adapted from Rebecca Katz in the Cancer Fighting Kitchen.

  4. Books & Blackberry Brownies

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    Over the past few years I’ve been curating a short (but sadly growing) list of things I’m worried my (someday) kids will never get to see or experience in their lives. Although I am a pretty optimistic person, my heart does sink every now and then when I step back for too long and watch the great world spin before me. I tend to stumble upon these things gently, usually in nature where I am reassured that everything is going to be the way it should.

    Alas, this has not been the case for my most recent fear. Books. The end of books. The real hold-it-in-your-hand, check-it-out-at-the-library, pass-it-to-a-friend, dog-ear-the-page, make-your-purse-heavy kind of books. The gutting of bookstores large and small across the nation is the beginning of what I fear will soon turn into a world entirely of e-readers and online textbooks. The idea that one day I might be able to say “when I was a kid, there used to be stores the size of supermarkets filled with just books” and get a response like, “no way!” is scary.

    The Borders liquidation sale was a war-zone this past weekend — books falling off the shelves, on the floor. People were manically digging through stacks of movies and rows of greeting cards as if their lives depended on it. An ugly scene, to say the least. We left empty handed, and when I asked Shaun why we had even checked it out in the first place he responded, “to remember.” Gulp.

    If you’ve checked out the recommended reading page, you’ll know that there is something very spiritual to me about having a house filled with good books. There is a Horace Mann quote that embraces my sentiments perfectly, “a house without books is like a room without windows.” It’s so true. They help develop our perspectives of the world, bringing us closer together without ever taking step out the front door. Even if that stack on your nightstand has gone untouched in the past six months, they still serve as physical reminders of our beliefs, our hopes, and our curiosities.

    Pick out a good book from your stash and have a brownie. Cherish the pages.

    Blackberry Brownies

    Adapted from A Dash of Sass

    • 4 cups grated zucchini
    • 1 cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup brown rice syrup
    • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
    • 1 cup vegan cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups whole blackberries

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking pan with a tsp of coconut oil and set aside. Grate zucchini into a strainer, press with a towel to remove excess moisture.

    In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, brown rice syrup, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the dried, pressed zucchini. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly, stirring to combine. Add the blackberries last, stirring together gently.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool for 20-30 minutes, if you can resist temptation.

  5. It’s Good to Be Three

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    During times of inordinate stress, pressure, or change, I find that more than any amount of yoga or breathing, the best meditative practice is simply the act of remembering. Remembering is an act of the heart. It gathers the images and energy of the people we associate with the past experience, and we cannot help to feel a pang of gratitude that we were there to share that specific moment in time together. It’s a practice we can do anywhere, anytime. Driving home from work, checking out books from the library, making the bed… you get the idea. We bring these memories into focus and suddenly the many worries and preoccupations of our day fade to the background. The wisdom of friends, family, and strangers who occupy these memories should remind us that the love and admiration we feel for them is reciprocal – they love and believe in us just the same.

    Some of the most powerful memories we can access, especially during times of self-doubt or criticism, are the ones of our younger and enthusiastic selves. As children, we were not buried deep in worry, restraint, or stress. Our full time jobs were to explore a world in its limitless intricacies. We were constantly seeking, questioning, creating, laughing, and enjoying.

    When I think of myself at three or four years old I see a little girl who was uninhibited, and free. She beamed with light and exuberance, and felt blissfully content to be who she was. The words “you can’t” were not in her vocabulary yet and she was assured that the entire world was at her fingertips.

    I remember that girl. She was amazing. I remember her smile, her confidence, and certainty. But then I realize… hey, that girl is me! That same spirit and lightheartedness still lives inside of me. I can still be free like her; and so can you. We should remember the energy and lightness of our childhood and give ourselves permission to cultivate it in our seemingly constrained lives. Conjuring the memory of such a lightness and warmth can even be enough to push you up the hill on a hard day.

    Carrot cake is a dessert that brings together the best memories of my both my childhood and of my mother. All twenty-one of my birthdays  (which is actually in December) have been celebrated with an original carrot cake recipe that she has saved from the 80s. When I emailed her asking for the recipe last week I think she was probably expecting me to completely transform it into a fat-free sugar-free relative. But I couldn’t – memories associated with this keepsake are of an auspicious nature, and I needed to (mostly) maintain its integrity if for no ones sake but my own. A few tweaks to the icing and oils, but otherwise pretty darn accurate. For me, carrot cake celebrates life, love, remembrance, and the many more memories to be made in the future. May it bring you a moment of lightness and tenderness in the way it did for me this weekend.

    For the cake:

    • 3/4 cups turbinado sugar
    • 2 cups pastry flour (gluten free optional)
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 heaping cups grated carrots
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 1/2 heaping cups crushed pineapple, strained
    • (optional) 1 cup of raisins

    glaze: (adapted from Roost blog)

    cream cheese frosting (like mom made it)

    • 2 cups cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    Preheat the oven to 350′. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar. Slowly beat in the coconut oil, vanilla, and pineapple. Add the flower mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Finally, stir in the carrots and walnuts. I decided to make these in mini loaf molds, but it would also work in large loaf or round pans. Depending on your preference, grease your pan(s) and fill to 3/4 full with cake batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes.Remove from oven and let cool before drizzling with coconut glaze

    For the cream cheese frosting, beat together ingredients in a stand mixer until completely combined. Test for taste. You might prefer it sweeter or with more acid, add sugar and lemon and vanilla accordingly.

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.