Making Good Use (+ A Beet Soup)

Making good use of beets by turning them into a velvety, dairy-free soup that’s spiked with lemon juice.

She totters around the downstairs of our rather enormous house and I let her, hanging back with my cup of coffee (if it’s morning) or tea (if it’s late afternoon) and granting her the illusion that she’s on her own to discover what there is to discover. My intrepid explorer; I hope one day soon her path is the granite of the Sierras rather than the cold, slick tiles of this house (though admittedly granite can be cold and slick too).

There’s a rather astonishing number and variety of birds in our neighborhood; often they fly in great flocks over the slightly pollution-stained houses and somewhat raggedy palm trees and alight on bougainvilla branches and garden walls. There’s one in particular that sounds like a blue jay and every time I hear it I think of being in the redwood forest, maybe Armstrong Woods in particular, the quiet hum of the trees and rushing water and hot summer pressing down all around me. Intellectually I know of course that there are no blue jays here – mourning doves, sea gulls, small white cranes, …. yes, but no jays or other birds similarly familiar to we North Americans – but if I take a moment to close my eyes I can almost believe I am in California of an August afternoon with nothing much to do other than listen to the leaves falling down to carpet the dry ground.

Continue reading

{Gluten-free, Vegan} Pumpkin Waffles

Gluten-free and vegan pumpkin waffles made with [g-f] oat flour and maple syrup that are perfect for fall even if you’re stuck in the land of endless summer.

[Beach, Casablanca, October 2014.]

I have a nice post in the works for a really stellar beet soup (yes — beet soup. I didn’t believe it either.) but first: we are currently experiencing sort of an endless summer vibe here in Casablanca which despite the calendar telling me it’s November 3 is throwing my internal compass off a bit. I haven’t lived in Southern California but I imagine it’s somewhat the same, minus the horses on the beach I suppose. I never thought I’d be looking forward to rain but I am and there is hope it may arrive tomorrow morning.

To help us get into the fall spirit I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for a Halloween party last week as well as a loaf of the pumpkin-maple bread from Flourless. Truth be told I had a rather large can of pumpkin to finish off and Saturday morning had me up early and thinking about how to use it. Pancakes seemed the obvious choice but, I don’t know, I hadn’t pulled out the waffle iron in far too long so — why not? For ‘fun’ I decided to make my pumpkin waffles not only vegan but gluten-free as well, relying upon oat flour as their base.

Continue reading

A Year (+ A Vegan Banana Cake)

A vegan, maple-syrup sweetened cake for Sierra’s first birthday (and for anytime).

Sierra turned one year old over a month ago and we celebrated the day with homemade pizza for dinner and a banana cake with almond butter glaze (as well as, err, a couple of glasses of champagne for her parents). A week later we hosted a party for her and two of the other little girls in the American community; I made probably too many sweets and gluten-free salads and huge pans of baked pasta. Almost all got eaten, the kids had fun, and and thus I consider the afternoon a roaring success.

It’s hard to believe she’s been with us for the better part of 14 months now — me, who when I was told all the usual adages of ‘it goes so fast’ ‘soak it up’ appreciate the moments’ nodded gently and agreed in principle while privately telling myself that while of course I would do all of these things in any case time would slow down just for for me because I dearly wished it could. I did appreciate the moments — the newborn cuddles (oh so many cuddles) and lurching first steps and funny noises and the mid-night wakings … I did appreciate them all. I do still. And yet. The year whisked by quickly and slowly and now my babe is becoming her own self with her own opinions and wants and wishes and it’s wonderful to see. Even as I sometimes miss those early, sleepy, quiet and cozy days which suddenly feel so far away.

Continue reading