Rock Star Smoothie

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My dear friend Sonia has turned me into a smoothie addict. Before her visit to Seattle last month, I hadn’t started my day with a smoothie since high school, when my mom would send me out the door to early morning crew practice with a chalky chocolate protein shake in a repurposed starbucks cup. Now things have changed. Sonia got me hooked. Vitamin packed veggie smoothies are the way of my future! If these aren’t already part of your routine, I highly  you to give one a try.

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Bit Funk – Soul Satisfaction

Rock Star Smoothie
Taught to me by my dear friend Sonia, who goes by RockStarFish on the Playa
1 cup water
1 cup chopped vegetables, such as beets, carrots, celery, tomatoes, or cucumber
1 cup chopped leafy greens, such as kale, collard greens, or spinach
1 cup fruit, such as frozen berries, pineapple, orange, or apple
1 tbs chunk of ginger
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

If you have a super strong blender, you can throw everything in at once and liquify. I do mine in stages, starting with water and the harder vegetables and then moving to the ones that are easier for the blender to handle and finishing with the leafy greens.

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Adventures in Vegan Baking: Carrot Cake

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When my new Seattle neighbors found out that I love to cook, they asked if they could hire me to make hors d’oeuvres for them. She gave me the lowdown: six people were coming over for hors d’oeuvres before going out to dinner. Six people? Hors D’oeuvres? Sounds like a piece of cake.

Not so fast. When I followed up to discuss the details, ask about food preferences / theme, pricing, and any dietary restrictions I needed to be mindful of… she told me they were vegan. Vegan? Did she know she was talking to someone who was only vegetarian once for a period of 40 days because a friend dared her to give up meat for lent? I was not prepared for this. But not one to back down from a challenge, I set out to find and test a bunch of vegan appetizer recipes. I made white bean and rosemary bruschetta, polenta cakes with garlicky mushrooms, miniature roasted vegetable napoleons with eggplant creme, veganized rosemary roasted garlic (without the blue cheese, sigh) and blackened tomato canapes, but I wasn’t wowed by any of them. Something was missing, and it rhymes with “smutter.” Or better yet, it’s friend “schmeeze.” I racked my brain, asked my vegan friends for advice, and scoured vegan blogs in an attempt to find something delicious to cook for these people. Then it dawned on me. The only time I’d veganized a dish that kicked ass, it was literally a cake. Vegan carrot cake, to be exact, which I made for my dear friend Joe for his birthday.

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So, folks. I give you cake. And for anyone who’s wondering what happened to the catering gig: everything ended anticlimactically when they decided to cancel on me a week before the event. I am disappointed, but also a little bit relieved that I didn’t have to serve them food that I wasn’t totally stoked about. Next time they ask me to cook for them, I’ll tell them I only do birthdays!

Here’s a new track from Moby, a vegan artist (says the internet), which sounds a lot like Bon Iver. Vegan cake that tastes like non-vegan cake. Vegan artist who sounds like a non-vegan artist. This works, right?

Moby “Almost Home”

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Warm Your Bones with Sausage, Kale, and Lentil Soup

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Is it cold where you are? It’s pretty cold where I am. Over the past couple of weeks here in Seattle we’ve been graced with beautiful blue skies, sparkling views of the surrounding mountains, and bone chillingly cold temperatures. It’s almost Boston cold and so so beautiful outside. But everyone is complaining. So much so that you’d think that everyone had forgotten that the alternative to this is dark gray skies and drizzly rain. Or maybe that’s what makes Seattle folk special: they’re happier in the rain than the sun.

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I’m not quite sure which weather pattern I prefer. When it’s raining and gray in the city I’m happy that it’s snowing in the mountains, but when it’s cold and clear I get to nest in my cozy apartment and make frequent trips between the fireplace and the kitchen, two of my favorite places. For now, I’m huddled up inside and using the weather as an excuse to watch the mountains from my window and make a stockpile of soup. I’m enjoying the view, but if the weather doesn’t warm up soon  I’m going to run out of room in my freezer!

James Blake – Retrograde

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Homemade Caramel Apple Pops

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This morning as I sat at my new kitchen table cutting strips of wax paper into squares to wrap caramels,  I realized that I’ve made eight batches of apple cider caramels this fall, each time telling myself that I’ll put this recipe up here on my blog and never doing it.

First, I wanted to use this recipe as a way to announce that I’ve moved back to Washington, where I’m back within driving distance of my parents apple orchard. But my move to Seattle happened two months ago, so that is old news.  Then, as October came along I thought about how the crisp apple flavor in these caramels was perfect for a homemade take on a halloween classic: the caramel apple pop, which was an even better use for the 50+ gallons of cider I had pressed this season. Yummmy! Homemade caramel apple pops are a mouth-watering (and teeth-saving!) improvement on the original.  But now apple season is coming to a close and if I wait any longer to tell you about these, you won’t be able to make them. So without further ado, here is the best apple cider hack there is!

And since this post is all about overdue sharing of awesomeness, here’s a song I’ve had on repeat for far too long:

Hot Chip – Dark and Stormy

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My Favorite Salad in Boston

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Shortly after finishing my winter of ski-bumming up at Whistler, I used some expiring Jet Blue miles to go back to Boston for two weeks to visit my old friends. I had one priority: dog pile with all of my favorite people in this world. But while this trip was all about catching up with friends, there were two things I had to eat before I came home: the Boston Strangler Hot Dog from the Lower Depths in Allston, and the Nicoise Salad from Parish Cafe in the Back Bay.

Photo Credit: Shannon Heuklom

But guess what? As I boarded the plane home, I realized I hadn’t even thought about either dish the entire time I was visiting. But can you guess what I thought about the whole flight home? After 6 hours of in-flight cravings, the first stop on my way home from the airport was to the grocery store.

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So to satisfy my craving and for all of you who can’t wander down Boylston street to try it, here’s my take on my favorite salad in all of Boston. Enjoy!

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

Recipe after the jump.

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