10 November 2014

Smoky Guacamole Tacos with Persimmon Salsa


How do I begin to explain my joy of tacos, something so part of me, such a fundamental element of the flavors of my childhood? If you're a long-time follower you already know that Mexican flavors are my ultimate comfort food. To enhance my enjoyment of them, I was lucky enough to have married a guy who loves them as much as I do. And these tacos are a simple and quick way to bring that enjoyment to our my table (and yours) any night of the week.

Avocados are given a quick mash-up with lime, chili, and cumin while black beans stew on the stove with garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika. The persimmon salsa is a fresh, zingy, sweet, and welcome counter to the smoky beans and guacamole. If persimmons are not in season or you can't find them, mango would be a perfect substitute. 

Corn tortillas are my preference when it comes to tacos. If you can believe it, there is a small Mexican store here called El Sabor that sells locally made corn tortillas. Though I don't love washing dishes and I don't love baking, I do oddly enough love making flatbreads, of any kind, especially when I can engage the help of a press. There's something very cathartic about the process for me, so I usually make my own corn tortillas with masa harina. But if I'm out of masa, you can find me at El Sabor. This being said, if corn tortillas are not accessible to you, flour tortillas or any sort of thin flatbread will work. 

*** ANNOUNCEMENT ***

Before I leave you to the recipe, I am very excited to finally get to share with you a project I've been working on behind the scenes for months..............

 Whole Nourishment has a new home!

After almost 2 years of blogging the Whole Nourishment community has grown. This is entirely thanks to you, my readers. I am deeply grateful for your support, engagement, and authentic interest in the recipes I post and my approach to food, cooking, and wellness.

You will continue to find this same content front and center on my new website. Additionally, this new space has allowed me to physically and symbolically merge the blog and my love for whole, plant-based foods with my broader vision for Whole Nourishment, which is to apply its philosophy in my new Holistic Health Coaching practice to support and guide others in achieving health and wellness.

So I invite you to visit my website, have a look around, and make yourself comfortable. This will be our new home!


Smoky Guacamole Tacos with Persimmon Salsa
Serves 4 (with leftovers) or 6 (without leftovers)

Notes: When I make tacos, I like to enjoy them for a few meals, so making extra filling allows for subsequent meals to come together quickly.

Stewed black beans (recipe below)
Smoky guacamole (recipe below)
Persimmon salsa (recipe below)
Corn tortillas (or other thin flatbread)
Couple handfuls toasted pumpkin seeds

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in the oven or toast in a dry skillet. Serve wrapped in a dish towel so they stay warm and don't dry out.

To assemble, layer guacamole at the bottom, then black beans and persimmon salsa. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Stewed Black Beans
3 cups (546 g or 2 15 oz. can) cooked black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water

Rinse and drain beans if using canned. Add everything to a medium sauce pan over medium heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while preparing other components. Halfway through, use the back of a wooden spoon to mash half of beans to thicken the mixture slightly.  If there's too much liquid left at the end, simple simmer 3-5 minutes longer with the lid off.

Smoky Guacamole
2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion, minced (reserve half for salsa)*
Large handful cilantro + tender stems, chopped (reserve half for salsa)
1 small clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
Juice 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients (making sure to reserve half of onion and cilantro for salsa) to a medium mixing bowl; mash everything together with a potato masher or a fork until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Persimmon Salsa
Notes: Substitute mango if persimmons are not in season.

2 firm but ripe Kaki (or Fuyu) persimmons
Reserved minced red onion
1 small red chili (or jalapeno), minced
Reserved chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (depending on sweetness of persimmon)
Salt, to taste

Peel persimmons and dice. Add to a small mixing bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir to combine; taste and adjust seasoning with more chili, cilantro, and lime as needed, to balance sweetness.

*Red onions run on the small side here in Switzerland, so use what would be considered a large red onion if you live here. In the US, use a small red onion. 

03 November 2014

Roasted Pumpkin, Cilantro, and Persimmon Salad


A friend gave me a nice bottle of fresh, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil recently, and I've been using it everywhere I can, topping soups and forming the base of salad dressings, like in this recipe. It's deep green color and nutty flavor is irresistible and using the oil is a very small but effective way  to celebrate Autumn and make any dish feel special.

This salad is the epitome of a fall salad. Firstly, the platter style makes it's perfect for dinner party or holiday meal spreads, both of which we all seem to have more of this time of year. (Although I have to admit, I made this salad just for the two of us and we finished off 2/3 of it in one sitting.) But secondly, and more importantly in my book, with this salad I am officially welcoming in the beginning of persimmon season!


Persimmons are a special fruit. I love their uniquely sweet, citrusy taste, which changes to a headier sweetness when cooked. For this salad I thinly slice and serve them raw, allowing the tangy dressing and floral notes of cilantro to accentuate the persimmon's subtle citrus flavor.

This is an understated salad, which I like. It doesn't look like much but there's depth and layers of flavor from the fresh crunchy celery, cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds hidden amongst the curly endive. I chose a roasted mini tiger striped pumpkin to top the salad because it is sold everywhere here and couldn't be easier or quicker to prep and cook (when sliced thinly). These minis or a delicata squash are your gateway winter veg of choice if you're the kind who thinks working with pumpkin is intimidating.

mini tiger striped pumpkin


Persimmon Primer
With their sweet, slightly citrusy flavor, some describe persimmons as a cross between an apricot and mango or an apricot dusted with cinnamon.

In the U.S. there are two main types of persimmons commercially sold; Hachiya and Fuyu. Hachiya must be fully soft to eat because it has high levels of tannins and tastes bitter and astringent in its firm, unripe state. The Fuyu variety can be eaten when firm or soft, and a firm Fuyu is what you want for this recipe.

Here in Switzerland, the Kaki persimmon (also known as the Japanese persimmon or in the US, the Asian persimmon) is most common. From my experience Kaki persimmons sold here can be eaten firm and are similar to Fuyu. The skin color ranges from light golden-orange to a rich coral (reddish-orange), and I look to buy the deeper coral color, especially when I plan to eat it firm. However, I have read that some Kaki varieties have higher tannin levels and must be fully soft to enjoy. If you are unsure, ask your grocer.



Roasted Pumpkin, Cilantro, and Persimmon Salad
Serves 4-6

1 mini Tiger Striped pumpkin
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 head curly endive (also known as frisee lettuce or endive frisee) 
2 handfuls pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
Generous handful cilantro, chopped
1 ripe but firm Fuyu (or Kaki) persimmon
Tangy Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).

Halve pumpkin, discard seeds, and slice into thin wedges. Place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss so both sides of pumpkin are coated. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just tender.

In the meantime, chop curly endive and place on a platter (a large plate or a large, wide-mouth shallow bowl also works). Add sliced celery, half of pumpkin seeds, half of cilantro, and half of dressing to platter and toss gently to combine. Peel persimmon, halve, and thinly slice lengthwise.

Layer persimmon and pumpkin over salad and sprinkle with remaining pumpkin seeds, cilantro and dressing.

Tangy Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl, and set aside.

Substitutions

  • Any small striped pumpkin variety works well here. Or use a winter squash such as Delicata (my favorite because you can eat the skin), Acorn, Butternut, or even sweet potato will work. But whatever you use, roast with the skin on; it's less work for you and it makes a pretty presentation. Diners can remove the skin themselves.
  • Arugula, radicchio, watercress, romaine, or a combination can be used in place of curly endive
  • Extra-virgin olive oil or another cold-pressed nutty oil such as sesame or walnut can replace the pumpkin oil.

27 October 2014

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Almonds, and Tahini


If summer is cobbler season, then fall is definitely roasting season. I've been roasting my way through the beginning stages of our cool weather, warming up the house just enough to take the chill out of the air as it's not quite time to turn on the heat.

This is a favorite fall/winter vegetable dish of mine, and it's past time I shared it with you - I have unintentionally been holding on to it for close to two years now. It's a typical example of my style of cooking; combining savory with sweet and always seeking a balance of tastes and textures. Small, but worthwhile details that I feel make a meal more satisfying. Plus, it's quick to come together and is festive enough to fit into any upcoming holiday meal spread. And leftovers, if you have any, are great tossed with chickpeas and/or quinoa, rolled up in a wrap or stuffed into a pita for lunch the next day.


Roasted Cauliflower with Dates, Almonds, and Tahini
Serves 4

Notes: If you do not enjoy the flavor of cilantro, use mint and parsley instead.

1 large head cauliflower (or 2 small heads:  ~580 g total)
Extra-virgin olive oil
4-5 dates, chopped
1/3 cup (46 g) slivered almonds, toasted
Generous handful cilantro, chopped
Tahini sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 450 F (232 C).

Cut cauliflower and tender stems into florets and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Toss to combine and roast, tossing once, for 20 minutes.

In the meantime toast almonds in a small pan on the stove top, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant. Chop dates and cilantro. When cauliflower is cooked immediately add to tahini sauce with dates and almond. Toss gently, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with an extra squeeze of lemon juice, if desired.

Tahini Sauce
2 Tbsp. tahini
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/8 tsp. salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses (or 1 tsp. honey)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Mix everything together in the bottom of a large bowl. If it's too thick, add a few teaspoons of water to thin to desired consistency.

19 October 2014

Hearty Autumn Vegetable and Apple Stew

I realize that fall officially began here in the Northern hemisphere almost a month ago, and I'm behind in welcoming it in on the blog. When people ask me what my favorite season is I usually say it's the transition between seasons rather than an actual season. The transition for me symbolizes movement, the promise of patterns not remaining stagnant, the opportunity to change up routines to release energy and blockages, mental or otherwise. And finally, it's the anticipation of what's to come. 

But if I had to choose an actual season, Autumn would be it. The air is refreshingly cool and light, and nature is offering an abundance of grounding energy in the form of root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets.  And as nature knows best about what we should eat and when, I follow along and look to these roots in particular for balance at this time.


Do you ever notice having a renewed burst of energy with the transition into fall? Maybe it's in the form of enhanced clarity and productivity, but for some it can also be mixed with nervous or anxious energy. I notice this new energy in myself, and that's when I know it's time to increase my intake of root vegetables. As the name implies, they are rooted plants; grown securely in the earth, they are warming, grounding, and stabilizing for our energy and blood sugar. Unlike the light, water-filled lettuce and cucumbers we use to stay hydrated and cool in summer, roots deliver the phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber in a denser energy package, exactly what our mind and body needs and craves as we move into the colder months.

This stew is a balance of smoky, sweet, and tangy notes, and it highlights some fall favorites; parsnips, Brussel sprouts, and apple cider. Most importantly, I've designed the recipe so that it serves as a template, a launching pad. The flavor profile and liquid-to-veg proportions are in place. Overtime, use the substitution notes below the recipe to swap out root veggies and type of beans and greens to suit your taste or availability.  Make it your own so that it becomes your go-to fall stew recipe.

Happy stewing!
~Katie



Hearty Autumn Vegetable and Apple Stew
Serves 4

Notes: See substitution notes below recipe to make this your own. And leftovers the next day are even better. As it reheats on the stove top add in some fresh green to brighten the colors.

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) apple cider
5 cups (613 g) mixed fall veggies (I used Brussel sprouts + parsnips)
4 cups (just shy of 1 liter) water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 large sweet apple, peeled and chopped
2 big handfuls Swiss chard, cut in chiffonade (~3 large stalks) 
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (or 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)

Prepare vegetables. Remove woody ends and dry outer layer of Brussel sprouts and halve (or quarter if larger). Peel parsnips and dice into small bite-size pieces (if they're too big they won't cook thoroughly).

Heat a Dutch oven  or soup pot over medium heat. Add oil and onion; cook until onion begins to soften (2-3 minutes). Add garlic and spices (through cinnamon). Stir and cook another minute until garlic and spices are fragrant.

Stir in tomato paste, then deglaze pan with vinegar, using a wooden spoon/spatula to pick up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. (Stand back when adding vinegar so you don't inhale the strong smoke.) Stir in apple cider and let bubble and reduce slightly for 30 seconds or so, then add vegetables, water, and salt.

Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste broth and add more salt if needed. Then add apple, greens, and beans. Cover and simmer another 3-5 minutes, until greens have wilted and are bright green. Ladle stew into bowls and serve with a pinch of smoked paprika, if desired.

Substitutions
  • Chipotle chili powder, chili powder, or harissa sauce, can replace smoked paprika
  • I used slightly less than 1 lb (500 g) Brussels sprouts + 2 medium parsnips; carrots or sweet potatoes would also be nice options
  • Use a fresh, quality natural apple juice instead of cider, if cider is not available
  • Kale or spinach can replace Swiss chard. See this how-to for chiffonade.
  • White navy beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, or butter beans are all good options

12 October 2014

Cooking For One Week Wrap-Up | Recipe & Top Tips Summary

Our Cooking for One series has wrapped up and it was a huge success, thanks to the seven other fabulously creative contributing bloggers. In case you missed some of the series, you will find a photo-recap and cooking-for-one tips shared throughout the week below. The highlights below only capture some of the incredible insights shared in each post, so head over to the respective blogs for the recipe in full and more insights on cooking for one.

"Adjust expectations: Solo meals don't need to be elaborate to nourish. But they should still be approached with the intention to satisfy."

"Are we only worth a greasy takeaway? A box pinged in the microwave? Of course not…..
Cooking for one can be a gift to yourself: a time to replenish and nourish in a way most appropriate to you. I think it was Nigella Lawson who dubbed eating for one Templefood: the idea of looking after oneself, and one’s self alone, with food that is easy, nourishing and – this being Nigella’s idea – slightly decadent."

"Re-purpose leftovers.  I think that it is so important for people to understand that they don’t necessarily have to eat the same thing five days in a row if they have leftovers.  For example, if you make a protein and a roasted or steamed vegetable one night for dinner you can easily turn that same meal into a delicious stir-fry, taco, or burrito the next night."

"I cook a big batch of soup, stew or curry to have for meals throughout the week, or freeze to save for another day."

"I love having things prepped ahead of time so it is simply a matter of me either arranging (as I would with say a salad), or heating as I would with these Root Vegetable Calzones."

"Think sauces….To keep it interesting it’s all in the sauce – I’ll put together an easy miso sauce, or tahini drizzle, a yoghurt dip or a satay sauce. A very easy way to jazz up a simple dish. And enjoy it! If you set the table, pour a glass of wine, and put on a little music, chances are you’ll also make more effort with the food itself.

"Make a super hearty sandwich – one that you can lazily throw together. Everything gets cooked in one pan so the mess stays minimal but the flavor is maximal!"
"I see it as an opportunity to eat exactly what I want. And just because you might be cooking for yourself, does not mean you don’t deserve to nourish your body with tasty, whole foods you enjoy!  YOU ARE WORTH IT!"

 ***************************************

 What I love most about these recipes, and tips especially, is that they certainly serve us well when dining solo but they are also equally valuable in our everyday cooking, whether that is for one or more.

Now over to you. What is your favorite tip? And how can you apply it to your solo dinner and/or your everyday cooking this week?

05 October 2014

Cooking for One Week! ~ Green Quinoa Bowl


Welcome to Cooking for One week! I am thrilled to be teaming up with some very inspiring and talented fellow whole food bloggers to bring you this series. You can see in the daily line-up below the recipe that over the next 7 days we will be arming you with an arsenal of easy and approachable whole, plant-based recipes ideal for those dinners for one.

But you may be asking….Cooking for one, is it really worth it?

Of course it is. Now let me convince you. Whether you usually cook just for yourself or for others, we all find ourselves needing to cook for one from time to time, right? But I think there is a misconception when it comes to what it really takes to make a quality whole foods meal just for one. Friends with busy careers who live alone have told me it's not worth the effort and is just as easy to eat out or buy something ready-made. I get the time and effort argument, as I also often face this same dilemma when my husband is away. Even I have less motivation to dirty the kitchen and make an effort just for myself, especially during the work week at the end of a busy day.

But I have found ways to make good food that I look forward to eating and can spend minimal time in the kitchen preparing. In fact, the more I do small things like this for myself, the better I feel physically and emotionally. I've come to realize that with just a little planning and minimal effort, the pay off to feeling replenished and nourished is huge. And remember, treating others well starts with treating ourselves well.

So, it's really a mindset shift. It is a shift in the way we think about optimizing our efforts and minimizing our time in the kitchen. And to help you with this mindset shift, in addition to  a week's worth of recipes, my friends and I will also be sharing our personal favorite top tips for successfully cooking for one.



My Top Tips for Cooking for One

  1. Plan ahead + Embrace leftovers
Cook big batch items like soups, stews, or pasta sauces, roast veggies, and cook a pot of grains when you have the time and energy on the weekend. These often taste even better the second or third day anyways, plus they are usually freezer-friendly. Try portioning out soups and pasta sauces in single-serving containers to freeze.

  1. Proactively stock your kitchen
Don't wait until you're hungry to scan your kitchen to decide what you should cook. Keep a diverse set of your favorite fridge and pantry staples stocked so they can be easily combined last minute to make a quick entree salad or soup.

  1. Adjust expectations
Solo meals don't need to be elaborate to nourish. But they should still be approached with the intention to satisfy. When I'm alone for dinner I often look forward to big salads, leftover soup, or roasted veggies with eggs or leftover grains. I don't expect anything more than simple, but I make sure the ingredients are quality and mealtime is enjoyable.

My belief is that the more we are mentally and emotionally open to enjoying the meal, the easier the food will be digested and the nutrients assimilated in our body. This is backed by science, in fact. One of the main divisions of our nervous system is in our gut, and the energy of thoughts and emotions we take into and throughout mealtime affects the motility of our digestive tract. 

Needless to say, no matter how simple my solo dinners are, I get as much pleasure from them as any other dining experience because I take time to have food on hand that I enjoy and I know that eating a homemade meal in a quiet, relaxed environment with some much deserved "me time" is special in itself and nourishing on so many levels.



Green Quinoa Bowl
Serves 2-3

Notes: I am more likely to cook for myself when there is minimal chopping and everything can be prepared in one pot for little cleanup. Here the broccoli steams directly on top of the quinoa in the last 8 minutes of cooking time. And while the quinoa cooks, I chop avocado and olives and make a quick lemon-balsamic dressing in a glass jar to store in the fridge. This quinoa bowl has a few fun surprises - it was inspired by the flavors of Morocco.  

1 cup (190 g) white quinoa
1 3/4 cup (420 ml) water
1/4 tsp. salt
4 unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice (divided)
1 small head broccoli (~3 cups/230 g chopped)
Handful green olives
1/3-1/2 avocado
Lemon-Balsamic Dressing (recipe below)

Rinse quinoa in a sieve until water runs clear. Add to a medium pot with water, salt, and chopped apricots. Cover, bring to a bowl, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, chop broccoli florets and tender stems into small bite size pieces (err on the smaller side so they cook thoroughly). With 10 minutes cooking time remaining, remove lid and quickly zest lemon directly over quinoa, then distribute chopped broccoli evenly on top. Cover again, finish cooking, then remove pot from heat, keep covered and let steam for 5 minutes. Once steamed remove most of broccoli, squeeze 1/2 lemon over quinoa and fluff with fork.

While quinoa finishes cooking, chop enough olives and avocado for that night's serving and make the dressing.  To serve, layer quinoa in a bowl with broccoli, avocado, and olives on top and drizzle with dressing.

Lemon-Balsamic Dressing
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Juice 1/2 lemon (remaining from recipe above)
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard (or Dijon - this is stronger, so you may need less)
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch salt + freshly ground pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a glass jar with a lid. Screw on lid and shake to combine. Store extra in jar in the fridge to use with leftovers the next night.



************************************************************************************
Follow this daily line-up for Cooking for One inspiration all week. Hopefully you enjoy this series as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Day
Friends
Sunday, October 5th
Katie @ Whole Nourishment ~ Green Quinoa Bowl
Monday, October 6th
Kellie @ Food to Glow ~ Grilled Shiitake Kimcheese
Tuesday, October 7th
Isadora @ She Likes Food ~ Vegetable Lasagna Roll-ups
Wednesday, October 8th
Dearna @ to her core ~ Roasted Pumpkin and Peanut Soup
Thursday, October 9th
Lynsey @ lynseylovesfood ~ Roasted Root Vegetable Calzones

Sarah @ Highgate Hill KitchenSpicy-Roasted Chickpeas, Herbed Freekeh & Moroccan Carrot Salad
Friday, October 10th
Grace @ Earthy FeastMarinated Mushroom Sandwich with Sautéed Greens + Avocado + Egg
Saturday, October 11th
Teri @ Nourished Roots ~ Curried Red Lentil and Roasted Delicata Squash Soup


29 September 2014

Liebster Award

Recently, Laura at Incredibly Edible generously nominated me for the Liebster Award. It was such a pleasant surprise and so nice to get the recognition, especially coming from a like-minded blogger. Thank you, Laura!

On her blog, Laura's passion for "natural, unprocessed, nutrient dense - as nature intended- ingredients" shows in her diverse collection of whole foods recipes. As Laura and other bloggers can relate, we blog because we enjoy it, because some part of it aligns with our passion. But we don't always know who the blog reaches and how it impacts those who read it. So it is always nice to feel the support from our readers and other bloggers. And this is what the Liebster Award is all about. It's not competitive in a traditional sense, rather it provides an opportunity for bloggers to recognize and show appreciation for each other's work.

The Liebster Award rules ask that I do the following:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated me and link to their blog + display the award badge.
  1. Answer 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated me
  1. List 11 random facts about myself
  1. Nominate 11 bloggers (I tweaked this rule)
  2. Pose 11 questions to said nominees
  3. Go to each nominee’s blog and notify them of their nomination.

Questions

What is your most favourite blog to follow and why?

The food I make everyday and share on the blog is inspired by many things; local, seasonal produce, the weather, and our travels. But I am also endlessly intrigued by how others think about and transform whole, plant-based food into accessible, delicious, and unpretentious meals. While my longest standing favorites (and ones you may also know: 101 Cookbooks, Green Kitchen Stories, and My New Roots) will always be reliable standbys that I'll never tire of, I equally enjoy following and cooking from Amy's Coconut and Quinoa and Elenore's Petite Kitchen. Their blogs are inspired, creative, and authentic - they never try to be anyone but themselves. And their recipes are magical.

How long have you been blogging for? 

I have been blogging for a little less than two years. At the beginning I didn't know how I would feel at this point, but I am happy to say that I enjoy it more and more each day and it never gets old. Blogging is creative work, and seeing a vision come to fruition, working through a food project from start to finish, is very satisfying. But even more satisfying is connecting with my readers and hearing how the recipes have been a source of inspiration for them and have made their mealtime more enjoyable.

What time of day do you write the best content for your blog?

I wish my whole day could be one long morning. Does that answer your question?! This is when the world is calm and peaceful, I have the most energy and clarity, and I feel the most inspired. 

What would be the first thing you would do if you won a million dollars?

Um, probably invest it. Boring, I know. But I believe that investing money allows me to feel the freedom to continue pursuing my dreams.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Ha, good question. If you're asking where we'll be living, I don't have an answer but that's fine with me. It's kind of fun not knowing exactly how things will unfold in the future. But I think the dream job response below will answer the rest of this question.

Which book would you encourage others to read?

I love to read and I read a variety of genres: memoirs, novels, historical fiction and anything to do with wellness.

So sticking with the theme of wellness, for anyone interested in mindfulness as it relates to our decisions about what to eat and how we eat, I would highly recommend In Defense of Food and The Yoga of Eating.

For adventure and an escape into other people's lives I really enjoyed Buried in the Sky and The Paris Wife.

What is the most treasured item you own and why? 

It would have to be all the pictures my husband has put into photo books that capture memories with family and friends. After that it would be a few special pieces of jewelry from my husband, mom, grandmother, and dad.

Where were you born?

New Mexico

What's your dream job?

They say "find work that you love or find a way to love your work." It has taken me a good 6 years to decide it was the right time to pursue, but I am now finishing my training to become a certified Holistic Health Coach where I'll help women make diet and lifestyle changes to reach their wellness goals. I've always wanted to do work that empowers women; in spite of our many responsibilities as women, I want women to know that we can choose to lead a more balanced, healthy, and mindful lifestyle and it's our right to feel content with ourselves, our bodies, and our health.

Tea or coffee? 

Tea - preferably rooibos, mint, or herbal and spice blends with sweet, spicy, and citrus notes. I am very sensitive to caffeine, so other than the caffeine I get through chocolate I generally avoid it.

Sweet or savoury?

Does sweet trump savory since I like to finish meals with something sweet and I'll choose a sweet breakfast or snack over a savory one?!

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I learned to drive stick in South Africa at age 26, so I'm more comfortable driving stick on the right side of the car.
  2. I can only hear out of my left ear, I was born this way. I've never seen it as a handicap but my husband likes to use it as an excuse to get that perfect table at restaurants. ;-)
  3. Because of # 2 I am generally more comfortable being a passenger than the driver (assuming there are others in the car), unless of course we're driving on the left hand side of the road.
  4. I love, love dancing - Salsa dancing, to be exact
  5. Meditation, yoga (or exercise in nature), and a smoothie bowl or warm quinoa porridge (depending on the season) is the perfect way to start my day
  1. I am a dog lover - Starr was our black and white pit/lab mix for four years and now we are the chosen second home for our friends' fur child, Miss Leila.
  1. I am a Facebook holdout (at least for a personal page). Obviously most of my friends are on Facebook but it's simply not me. 
  1. My husband and I met studying abroad in Argentina
  1. I am in love with the skincare line, Just the Goods. Check out my interview with Milena, the founder.
  1. One of the best choices I've made for myself in the past few years is switching over to Just the Goods. When it comes to our well-being and consumerism I believe we shouldn't passively "buy into" the way things are. Our desired changes start with proactive choices to educate ourselves and shop around.
  1. Thai massages are my nirvana - it's a shame our society associates self-care with selfishness and self-indulgence. 

Blog Nominations

Sarah - Highgate Hill Kitchen - fantastically flavorful everyday  meals inspired by seasonal, unprocessed whole foods; she has a knack for pairing classic flavors in original ways.

Lyndsey - Lyndsey Loves Food- a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who says "when we love food it will love us back"; her belief in moderation and not taking food too seriously shows up in her delicious and fun recipes.

Chelsea - The Naked Fig  - a fellow certified Holistic Health Coach and yoga instructor with gorgeously photographed and freshly creative , whole, plant-based recipes.

Teri - Nourished Kitchen - a Certified Holistic Nutritionist who offers doable whole foods recipes for the whole  family and wellness tips to live by.

Kristie - Birch and Wild - uniquely nourishing recipes from a whole foods chef with a passion for natural health and organic agriculture.

Ksenia - At the Immigrant's Table - a heartfelt allergy-conscious recipe journal capturing her family's migrant history from the former USSR, Israel, then Canada.

Izzy - She Loves Food - plant-based recipes that are naturally gluten-free (you'll never miss it here!) and often with a fantastic Mexican/Southwestern flair.

Nominee Questions

  1. What is your favorite food movie?
  2. What can always be found in your fridge?
  3. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to food?
  1. Has blogging helped you learn anything new about yourself?
  1. Blogging is creative work. Some people argue creativity is artfully bringing together seemingly disparate ideas to make a dish while others say it's about creating something new. What does creativity in the kitchen/on the blog mean to you?
  1. What is one thing most people don't know about you?
  1. What on your life bucket list are you determined to make happen?
  1. What cookbook do you cook from the most?
  1. What is your favorite go-to quick dinner?
  1. How do you like to start your mornings?
  1. What is your most nourishing daily habit?


**Announcement**
In other news, I have been collaborating with a few fellow bloggers behind the scenes to bring you a fun but also very useful Cooking for One week-long series. This series kicks off here on the blog next Sunday, October 5th, at which time I'll share the details and line-up of participating bloggers who will also be contributing recipes. So check back on Sunday, you won't want to miss this!!